New Study: 30 Million Women to Benefit from Health Reform

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<p>Thirty million women will benefit from the new health reform law over the next decade, either through new or strengthened insurance coverage, according to the Commonwealth Fund study <a href="/publications/issue-briefs/2010/jul/realizing-health-reforms-potential-women-and-affordable-care-act">Realizing Health Reform's Potential: Women and the Affordable Care Act of 2010</a>.</p>
<p>In the first of a series of Fund issue briefs analyzing the expected impact of health reform on different segments of the U.S. population, the researchers report that the Affordable Care Act will stabilize and reverse the growing exposure to health costs that women now experience. Although women are just as likely to be uninsured as men, their health care needs leave them more vulnerable to high health care costs and problems related to the loss of health insurance.</p>
<p>Under the act, subsidized health insurance will be available for up to 15 million currently uninsured women, and coverage will be upgraded for the 14.5 million underinsured women who currently have coverage but are not adequately protected from burdensome medical expenses. The law's provisions that are particularly important to women include:</p>
<li>an expansion of Medicaid eligibility; </li>
<li>subsidies for purchasing insurance; </li>
<li>limits on out-of-pocket spending; </li>
<li>a prohibition against insurers charging higher premiums or denying coverage based on health status or gender; and </li>
<li>the requirement that new health plans cover maternity and newborn care.</li>
<p>In addition, the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) will help an estimated 100,000 uninsured women gain coverage by providing temporary coverage to adults with preexisting conditions who are uninsured during the period 2010 to 2013.</p>
<p>"Women who have an individual insurance market policy that charges them higher premiums than men, who have been unable to secure coverage for the cost of a pregnancy, or who have a preexisting health condition excluded from their benefits will ultimately find themselves on a level playing field with men, with a full range of comprehensive benefits, including maternity coverage," said lead author Sara Collins, Ph.D., a Commonwealth Fund vice president and an expert on health insurance coverage.</p>
<p>Be sure to visit the Fund's <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=2A19E6B56FA74653A4CA26E9316F2B5F&_z=z">Health Reform Resources</a> section for more information and analysis on the Affordable Care Act and its implications. <br /></p>