The Affordable Care Act and Women

The Affordable Care Act is making health insurance coverage more affordable and accessible for millions of Americans. During the first annual enrollment period, more than 8 million Americans signed up for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, including more than 4.3 million women. And that doesn’t include the more than 3 million young adults who have gotten coverage through their parents’ health plans, or the millions who have learned they are eligible for Medicaid coverage. These people are enjoying high quality, affordable coverage that can’t discriminate based on a pre-existing condition, or charge women more because of their gender.

For women, the law addresses inequities and increases access to quality, affordable health coverage that meets their unique health needs. The Affordable Care Act invests in prevention and wellness, and gives women and their families more control over their care. And women can no longer be charged more for health insurance because of their gender.

Because of the Affordable Care Act, 18.6 million uninsured women have new opportunities for coverage.

Additionally, millions of women across the country are benefiting from the stronger coverage and consumer protections made possible by the Affordable Care Act:

  • 29.7 million women with private health insurance gained expanded access to preventive services with no cost-sharing, including mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, prenatal care, flu and pneumonia shots, and regular well-baby and well-child visits. And many health plans now cover additional preventive services with no cost-sharing, including well-woman visits, screening for gestational diabetes, domestic violence screening, breastfeeding supplies and contraceptive services. Altogether, a total of 48.5 million women are estimated to benefit from free preventive services.
  • Private plans in the Marketplace as well as most individual and small group plans outside the Marketplace are now required to cover 10 essential health benefit categories, including maternity and newborn care. An estimated 8.7 million American women with individual insurance coverage gained coverage for maternity services because of the health care law.
  • 1.1 million women between ages 19 and 25 who would have been uninsured now have coverage under their parent’s employer-sponsored or individually purchased health insurance plan.
  • The Medicaid expansion is providing comprehensive coverage for lower income women who were previously only eligible for coverage while pregnant. Enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program is open year round. Visit to learn more.

Posted on: March 20, 2012

Content last reviewed on September 29, 2014