Obamacare and women: How it affects you

Educate yourself about what you have access to so you may take better care of your health.

A number of the Affordable Care Act’s healthcare reforms directly impact women. Once you understand how Obamacare and women relate, you can make sure that you’re getting the most out of every doctor’s visit. Things like free annual exams and breastfeeding support are perks that can improve your well-being.

New preventive care for women

Obamacare mandates that certain preventive medicine services for women must be fully covered by insurance plans. That means no co-pays, co-insurance, or other forms of cost-sharing for services that have in the past come with a bill. If you have avoided these services because of the expense, now is the time to talk to your doctor about what preventive care is available to you without having to worry about the financial burden. Many of these benefits have already gone into effect as of August 2012 or even earlier. What exactly can women expect in terms of cost-free preventive care?

  • Annual well-women visits, including Pap smears
  • Mammograms
  • HIV screening and counseling
  • HPV testing
  • Counseling and testing for sexually transmitted diseases
  • Birth control

Obamacare and motherhood

Obamacare is brimming with benefits for moms. Health insurance plans have to include maternity coverage. This will make life easier for expecting mothers and women who are planning on starting a family but have not had access to maternity coverage in the past. For women who may become pregnant, folic acid supplements are available to help ensure a healthy pregnancy.

During those exciting and overwhelming nine months, Obamacare offers women free gestational diabetes screening, anemia screenings, and urinary tract infection screenings. For new moms , services like breastfeeding support and newborn care are available at no cost. After the baby is born, well-child visits are fully covered until age 21, and insurance companies are required to provide dental and vision coverage for dependent children.

No more gender barriers

With Obamacare, women will no longer be denied coverage for things like having had a C-section, being the victim of domestic abuse, or being pregnant. Health insurance companies may no longer deny women coverage for these gender-related, preexisting conditions (yes, insurance companies had called pregnancy a preexisting condition!). This protects womens’ right to healthcare protection, especially when the Affordable Care Act goes into full effect in 2014.

With so many new benefits and protective measures, Obamacare and women seem to have a healthy relationship. Nothing is perfect, however. Depending on what state you live in, it is possible that your list of doctors and hospitals that you have access to will be limited. To keep healthcare costs down, some health insurance companies have decided to exclude some doctors and medical centers.

For women who work part-time (women over age 20 make up more than half of the part-time work force), Obamacare could have a negative impact. Employers may cut the hours of their part-time employees to less than 30 hours a week to be exempt from having to provide health insurance. As a woman, you will notice a lot of changes to your health care, including some immense benefits and savings. Educate yourself about what you have access to so you may take better care of your health.

Photo: Flickr