There are many changes under the Affordable Care Act as many important features are covered without co-payment; there are some things women should consider before buying health insurance.
"Women utilize more medical services than men due in part to longer life expectancies, the need for reproductive care, and a greater likelihood of chronic disease and disability," analysts noted in a February
"Furthermore, women take major responsibility for coordinating care for family members, shoulder higher annual health care expenses, face more affordability challenges, and are more likely to experience inconsistent insurance coverage compared to men."
With the Affordable Care Act, women can avail HPV testing, screening for gestational diabetes, mammograms, some FDA approved contraceptives and counseling for domestic violence. Now with Obamacare women cannot be charged higher premiums than men which reduce a great financial stress on women.
When women are not covered by the employer - the new health mandate requires that you buy your own insurance by January 1st 2014. Approximately 18.6 million women are uninsured and can buy health insurance in the new marketplaces after 1st October.
"The most important thing for uninsured women to consider is simply completing an application for the health insurance marketplace, says Dr. Nancy C. Lee, HHS Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health and director of the Office on Women's Health.
"The application is free to fill out and there is no commitment once it is completed," she points out. "Women who need affordable health insurance have nothing to lose by filling out an application."
Federal tax credits are available for households which have a poverty level of up to 400% - which is $46,000 for individuals and $94,000 for a family of four. Those with incomes of 250% of federal poverty level it is $28,725 for individuals and $58,875 for a family of four.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, women who earn less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level will be eligible for Medicaid coverage, even if they have no children and are not pregnant.
Once the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented in 2014, all insurance plans will be required to offer some maternity coverage. . "If a woman is planning or hoping to get pregnant, she should look at what specific maternity services are covered under each plan and if there are limits," says Rachel Fleischer, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "She should check out if there are limits, caps or specific requirements around services."
At times life insurance can be a matter of life and death for some women, "An infant is six times more likely to die in infancy if the mother didn't get prenatal care and a woman is two to three times more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth without prenatal care," says Terry O'Neill, president of the National Organization for Women. "Obamacare is going to be lifesaving for many, many women."
Children in low income families will either be eligible for Medicaid or the Children Health Insurance Program. Children with pre-existing illnesses are eligible now and adult children till 26 years of age will be covered under parent's insurance cover.
"When your cell phone contract ends, you spend hours and hours researching other plans," says Nicole Duritz, vice president for health education and outreach at AARP. "We encourage people to invest the same time and energy in their health care."
Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)
Andrea Adleman, August 2013