Today’s guest post by Kimberley Laws is written specifically for women from the U.S.A. who want to understand their new healthcare system better.
If the word “Obamacare” sends you into a state of utter confusion, you are not alone. Months after the plan’s rollout, the Affordable Care Act still boggles the minds of many. And, with the large number of changes in effect that pertain to females, women are finding it particularly difficult to navigate the system.
If Obamacare has you in a perpetual state of perplexity, fret no more. Here are seven important things that every woman should know about health insurance.
1. Medicaid has expanded.
Thanks to expansions to the Affordable Care Act, less Americans will now fall through huge gaps in the Medicaid system. Individuals who are between the ages of nineteen and sixty-five who earn up to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level and meet the other requirements, such as citizenship, should now be covered. According to NewsMax’s “Big Medical Changes in 2014 Under Obamacare,” this translates into an income of less than $15,856 per year. Admittedly, not all states have opted in to these changes, so it is important to check with your own state to see if you qualify.
2. Your birth control can be covered.
Perhaps, one of the most misunderstood facets of the health care changes is the addition of coverage for your preferred method of birth control. If you have a prescription for a birth control method that is approved by the FDA, and you have a new health insurance plan offered by your employer, the Marketplace, or many of the private insurance providers, you should not have to pay any out-of-pocket expenses.
3. Your maternity care will be covered.
And if the above-mentioned birth control does not work, you’re covered too. In the past, the vast majority of health insurance plans did not include coverage for maternity-related expenses. With the implementation of Obamacare, however, all new plans will allow for the costs associated with pregnancy and birth. Yes, you can now have children without amassing huge medical bills.
4. Your pre-existing conditions will be covered.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, you can no longer be denied coverage or charged higher premiums for having pre-existing conditions. Nor can your children.
5. You will no longer be discriminated against.
Women have, traditionally, paid higher premiums for insurance coverage than their male counterparts–but all of this has come to a screeching halt. Setting premiums based on gender–often referred to as “gender rating”–is now illegal. Plus, you can no longer be denied coverage due to female-specific conditions.
6. Help is available if you fall ill.
If you do become ill, there are a number of programs in place to offer support to both you and your family. Some states will cover some or all of your medications even if you do not qualify for Medicaid.
According to the “Health Insurance Guide for Women,” the Ryan White CARE Act ensures that low income, uninsured or underinsured victims of HIV/AIDS are provided with necessary care and programs.
Plus, there are several organizations–both privately and publicly funded–that provide financial and practical help to women with cancer and their families. Two prime examples are the Avon Care Program and Cancer Care.
7. You qualify for free preventative health services.
You now qualify for a host of free services designed to safeguard your health from preventable illness. These services include mammograms, testing for HIV and diabetes, PAP smears, colonoscopies, breast-feeding support, well woman visits and more. Yes, staying healthy has become much more affordable.
So, put down that marker, wipe your brow, and say “phew!” You now know seven important ways that the Affordable Care Act can benefit you and your health. Aren’t you glad you didn’t write on your forehead?
What aspects of the Affordable Care Act do you find confusing? Why?
About the Author
Kimberley Laws is a freelance writer, avid blogger, and huge fan of Sharpie markers. You can follow her at the Embiggens Project and Searching for Barry Weiss.