Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, 45.1 million women—including 20.4 million with private health insurance and 24.7 million women with Medicare—can receive recommended preventive services with no cost-sharing, new data released today by the Department of Health and Human Services shows.
More than one million young adult women have gained health insurance coverage because of the law and 13 million more women will gain coverage by 2016. Without the health care law, these women would remain uninsured, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius claims.
“From increased health coverage to free preventive services and lower prescription drug costs, our mothers, grandmothers, daughters, friends and neighbors are already benefiting from this law and will continue to in the months and years to come,” Sebelius said in a news brief.
The law aims to provide women with important preventative health services such as mammograms, cervical cancer screenings and prenatal care at no cost. Beginning in August, many health plans must also cover—with no cost-sharing—recommended preventive services, such as well-woman visits, domestic violence screening and breastfeeding supplies.
Research released last week by the National Women’s Law Center show women are continuously charged more for health coverage simply because they are women, and individual market health plans often exclude coverage for services that only women need (ie: maternity coverage).
Sebelius and other administration officials have been promoting health reform throughout the country just before the Supreme Court begins to hear oral arguments regarding the constitutionality of the law.
The HHS says roughly 8.7 million more women who buy coverage in the individual market will gain maternity benefits, beginning 2014, as a result of the health care law’s requirement for health insurance plans in that market to cover essential health benefits.
Plus, the department says, more than two million women in Medicare have saved $1.2 billion on the cost of prescription drugs in the “donut hole” coverage gap.