President Obama’s health reform law requires that new health insurance plans cover preventive services with no co-pay or deductible. In the last 18 months, approximately 20.4 million women with private health insurance have received preventive health services such as mammograms and pap smears at no additional cost because of this provision in the Affordable Care Act.
Besides improving access to services that help women stay healthy and detect health problems early on, health reform helps women in many other ways. For example, insurance companies are banned from imposing a limit on the amount of care they’ll cover over a woman’s lifetime, and are now required to spend at least 80 percent of premium dollars on care—not overhead.
Women who have been unable to purchase health insurance because of a pre-existing condition such as cancer or having been pregnant now have an option to obtain the insurance they need through the new Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan.
Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act will be fully implemented and offer even greater protection for women and their health care. Health insurance companies will no longer be able to discriminate against women by charging them higher premiums than they charge men and will be banned from denying care based on pre-existing conditions, or limiting the amount of care they'll cover each year.
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