Friday, October 19, 2012

How does healthcare reform benefit women?

A NAHAM member has asked us to share a recent article, written by Susan Blumenthal, M.D., public health editor at the Huffington Post and former U.S. Assistant Surgeon General. A summary of the article can be found below, but you may also view the full article and Dr. Blumenthal’s profile here.

Dr. Blumenthal writes that women have historically experienced discrimination in terms of their health – despite making 80 percent of health care decisions for their families, using more medical services than men, and suffering greater disability from chronic disease.  

Here is what has changed – “Just 20 years ago, women's health was neglected in the halls of public policy, at the research bench, and in clinical settings in America.”

Pointing to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (most commonly referred to as Obamacare), Dr. Blumenthal says the new law has given women “access to comprehensive, quality health care”. 

She writes – “In fact, 19 million women in America do not have health insurance. Women are more likely to lose their insurance if divorced or widowed, and often paid more for premiums than did men. Thanks to the recent passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (recently upheld by the Supreme Court), all of this will change.”

Dr. Blumenthal also cites several significant improvements “to ensure an efficient, effective, and equitable health care system for women -- and men -- over the life cycle.”

Currently, only 50 percent of women have employer-sponsored insurance compared to 57 percent of men.  Obamacare eliminates gender rating on premiums.

Obamacare also allows children up to age 26 to be included on their parents.  (“As a result of this provision in the new law, 1 million young women now have health insurance.”)

Women can no longer be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions like cancer, asthma, or depression.

Under its "Patient's Bill of Rights,"Obamacare prevents insurance companies from instituting lifetime benefit caps, dropping patients who file reimbursement claims, and spending more than 20 percent of premium payments on administrative costs.

The expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare will bring more women into the healthcare system through coverage.  Dr. Blumenthal writes that currently “two-thirds of Medicaid beneficiaries are women, and the majority of the 55 percent of uninsured women who have incomes below 138 percent of poverty will now qualify for Medicaid coverage in 2014.”

Furthermore, women with incomes between 139 percent and 399 percent of the poverty level will be eligible for tax-credits towards the purchase of insurance plans.

1 comment:

  1. Government has to take necessary steps for providing the insurance to the citizens, because it makes them to lead a healthy life.
    Womens Health