Women and Healthcare Reform

In today’s health system, women are discriminated against in many ways. They often face higher health costs than men, as well as multiple barriers to health insurance. Fewer women are eligible for employer-based coverage and comprehensive coverage, and the individual insurance market can be prohibitively expensive. As a result, many women are underinsured or uninsured and simply can’t afford the services they need.

The healthcare reform law which Rep. Eshoo worked on and voted for makes key preventive care more affordable by eliminating co-pays for preventive services such as breast cancer screenings, prenatal and postnatal care, and checkups for children and babies.

Under the pre-reform system, women are charged up to 48% more for premiums than men on the individual market, a practice no longer allowed under the new law which bans “gender rating.”

It also requires insurance plans to cover maternity services and bans the insurance industry practice of rejecting applicants with pre-existing conditions, which has kept women with histories of health problems from accessing individual coverage. Past pregnancy, c-sections, or even a history of domestic abuse have all been classified as preexisting conditions by insurers and used as a rationale for denying coverage to women. Eliminating these discriminatory practices is at the core of the bill.

To find out more about the Affordable Care Act’s womens’ health provisions, you can click here.