What Women on a Budget Love About the Affordable Care Act

What Women on a Budget Love About the Affordable Care Act

Comments are coming in faster than we can read them today on our breakdown of the Supreme Court's ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act.

Readers are debating what it means for their small businesses, for their family members with pre-existing conditions, our national debt, premiums and more.

But one thing we really should have told you is this: If you're a women, and you enjoy saving money (probably--you are reading this on LearnVest), the health law has some goodies you'll love.

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You Won't Get Charged More for Being a Woman

Currently, many health insurance agencies charge healthy, non-smoking women more than they would a smoking man. This higher price adds up to women paying about $1 billion more in health costs per year. Why?

  • We get pregnant (though many private insurers don't cover maternity costs anyway)
  • We are more likely to take advantage of preventive care services
  • We have this special doctor that men don't: a gynecologist

Whether any of this actually justifies a higher cost (so we get penalized for visiting the doctor now, instead of waiting until it's an emergency?) is debatable. But starting in 2014, insurance companies will not be able to discriminate based on gender when deciding how much to charge a policy holder.

You'll Get All the Preventive Care You Need--For Free

With the new law, insurance companies will not be able to charge a co-pay for certain preventive services, and the list of what qualifies is long. Here are just some examples of things that will be covered starting this August:

  • Breastfeeding support and counseling, and access to breastfeeding supplies
  • Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STI) counseling
  • Regular check-ups

And some other services that will be covered for free starting in 2014:

  • Contraception (This could save you up to $18,000 over your lifetime!)
  • Breast cancer screenings for women over 40
  • Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, cervical cancer and HIV screenings
  • Osteoporosis screening for women over age 60
  • Tobacco use screening and interventions

It Will Reduce the Cost of Pregnancy

As it stands now, 62% of women who buy individual insurance do not have maternity coverage. But starting in 2014, 8.7 million women will pick up this coverage.

In addition, starting in 2014, an insurance company won't be able to deny you coverage for having the "preexisting condition" of being pregnant.

Finally, many of the free preventive services that women will be entitled to under the new health law are especially for pregnant women, like folic acid supplements and anemia screenings.

Image credit: senatorchriscoons/Flickr

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