Better Benefits, Better Health for Women

By Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services
Posted March 24, 2011

The Affordable Care Act is bringing much needed changes to the insurance market for women. For too long, too many women could not get the affordable, high quality coverage they deserved. Some insurance companies considered simply being a woman a “pre-existing condition” and charged more or covered less.  Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, that’s all changing and women and their families are eligible for important new benefits that will ensure they have access to better care at a lower cost.

Women with insurance will benefit from the law. If you are in a new insurance plan, you can choose the primary care doctor or OB-GYN in your insurer’s network without a referral.  Go to your insurer’s website or call the customer service number to find out which providers are in your network.

Recommended preventive services, like mammograms and flu shots, are now available at no out-of-pocket costs to you, if you are in a new insurance plan. This means that your insurance company cannot charge you a deductible or copays. See a list of preventive services that will be covered.

The Affordable Care Act is also making it easier for women to get covered.  Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act makes it illegal for insurance companies to discriminate against anyone with a pre-existing condition or charge women more for coverage than men. And today, if you have been uninsured because of a pre-existing condition, like cancer or being pregnant, you may be eligible to join the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan.  To find out about plans available in your State, please visit: www.pcip.gov

And if you have children, it’s important to know that most health plans cannot deny coverage to children under age 19 because of a pre-existing conditions. Additionally, many young adults can stay on their parent’s family plan until they turn 26.  It doesn’t matter whether they’re married, living with parents, in school, or financially independent.