NASE News

Affordable Care Act of 2010 To Benefit 30 Million Women

The Commonwealth Fund recently released a study which explains how 15 million uninsured women and 14.5 million insured women will benefit from the implementation of the health reform law (The Affordable Care Act of 2010). The report, “Realizing Health Reform’s Potential: Women and the Affordable Care Act of 2010,” found that the Act is likely to stabilize and reverse the growing health costs that women face.

Insurers often consider women to be higher risks than men, and women tend to face higher premiums in the individual market as a result. Additionally, pregnancy and caretaking of children and elderly parents cause women to spend more time in direct contact with insurance companies and health care providers than men. According to the study, other provisions that will benefit women in the next few years include:

  • Extended dependent coverage - Children up to the age of 26 may join or stay on a parent’s policy until 2014, provided they are not eligible to enroll in an employer-sponsored plan.
  • Restrictions on annual benefit limits - Between Sept. 23, 2010 and Sept. 23, 2011 annual benefit limits may be no less than $750,000. Between Sept. 23, 2011 and Sept. 23, 2012 annual benefit limits may be no less than $1.25 million. Between Sept. 23, 2012 and Jan. 1, 2014 annual benefit limits may be no less than $2 million. The Affordable Care Act bans annual benefit limits completely in 2014.
  • Bans on rescissions of coverage – Starting Sept. 23, 2010 insurers will be banned from rescinding health policies. 
  • Pre-existing condition insurance plans - Uninsured women with pre-existing conditions have access to Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans (PCIP) until 2013. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia will operate their own PCIP systems using federal subsidies, while the nonprofit Government Employees Health Association (GEHA) will operate PCIPs in the other 21 states. Visit healthcare.gov for more information on PCIPs. 
  • Increased coverage for preventive care - The health care law requires that health plans cover recommended preventive services and not impose cost-sharing requirements on those services beginning Sept. 23, 2010. Preventive care services that will be covered include breast cancer screening, osteoporosis screening and immunizations for children and adolescents.

For more information, please read the full Commonwealth Fund report here.