The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, has always confused me, even though I am currently insured under my mother, and I plan to stay that way until I turn 26 (lol hi Mom!). But now with Obamacare fully in place as of today (although the government is currently kaput), we should all take a second to read up and realize what the ACA has done for women in simpler terms.
First off, you can get quality healthcare insurance now that the Health Insurance Marketplace is open! As it says on Healthcare.org, you can fill out an application for the Marketplace, which will give you lower costs based on your income and compare your coverage options. When you fill out the application, you will see all the healthcare coverage that’s offered, depending in your area. Make sure that you include your household size and income in order to find out if you’ll receive low-cost month premiums, and out-of-pocket costs. The Marketplace, which is also known as the Healthcare Insurance Exchange, will let you know if you qualify for free/low-cost coverage through Medicare or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Private companies offer these insurance plans and they cover essential health benefits.
To apply for the Marketplace, you can do so online, through the mail, or in person. Find out who runs your state’s Marketplace, and if your state does offer the Marketplace, use your state’s website!
Everyone must buy healthcare by 2014. If you already have health insurance, you’re totally cool, but to the people who don’t, hear me out because this is a MAJOR must. This is simply known as the “individual mandate”, which will help Obamacare actually work. If you don’t buy health insurance, you will then be fined a penalty. If you’re an adult, your fine will be $95, and children’s fines are subjected to half that penalty. So basically the government needs your money either way (like that’s surprising news to you all).
Some of the incentives Obamacare has to offer.
But what exactly does Obamacare do for women? Lets make a list, shall we?
- According to Moveon.org, 1 in 5 women aged 15 to 44 were uninsured before the ACA. Now, more than 13 million uninsured women in that age range will be able to receive health insurance under Obamacare.
- Before Obamacare, women paid nearly 70% more than men did for health insurance. According to the Washington Post, women have often been denied coverage due to “pre-existing” conditions, like maternity, having a child via C-section, or if you were a victim of domestic violence. Now under the ACA, insurers can’t charge women more than men when setting premiums and will not be denied coverage for gender-related reasons.
- Insurance providers must offer maternity, newborn, and pediatric care to mothers. Obamacare also requires that insurance providers keep dependent children on their parents’ plan until the age of 26.
- Women will now have expanded preventive services. According to Obamacarefacts.com, these range from breast-feeding supplies, to annual well-woman visits, to screening for STIs. Also, no more referrals to OB/GYNS!
- Women will benefit from tax subsidies under Obamacare. As the Washington Post reports, this depends on where a woman lives, her income, and her family composition. The ACA helps limit the out of pocket costs that a policyholder would have to pay, meaning no co-pays for preventative care, even if you have Medicaid or private insurance.
- Obamacare provides subsidy refunds for those to purchase insurance. This is to help those with low-income to purchase within state-based Health Insurance Exchanges. For those whose income is between 1 to 4 times the poverty level, they may qualify for a subsidy. The Kaiser Family Foundation states that your tax credit amount is based off the benchmark premium. However, those that have employer-provided health insurance, or Medicaid, are ineligible to receiving the tax credit. It basically means the tax credit is the benchmark premium minus what you are expected to pay, based on your family’s income.
- There will be an expansion of Medicaid for low-income women, making these women eligible for Medicaid benefits. Fifteen million low-income adults will gain this coverage with the expansion, and of that, 4.6 million are women of reproductive age. Also, the ACA reduces some of the costs that women insured via Medicaid have.
Still super confused about Obamacare? Here’s a nifty chart that Planned Parenthood has put together!:
Thanks to The Washington Post, The Kaiser Family Foundation, Moveon.org, Obamacarefacts.com, Healthcare.Gov (1, 2, 3), and the Urban Institute
Images via The Atlantic, Moveon.org, and Obamacarefacts.org