Tuesday, July 23, 2019

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Professor Emerita Vernellia Randall
Founder and Editor

Article Index


*111 II. Access to Health Care for Women Under the ACA

Many ACA provisions aimed at increasing access to insurance coverage may have disproportionate impacts on women. For example, because women are less likely than men to be uninsured through their jobs,  more women than men may take advantage of new subsidies for purchasing health insurance on the individual market, expanded eligibility for Medicaid, and the option for young adults to remain on their parents' insurance plans. More directly, a number of the ACA provisions aim to increase access to health care services used predominantly or exclusively by women, provide new protections against sex discrimination in the provision of health care services, and fund new research programs and health education initiatives aimed at key women's health issues.  For example, within the Medicaid program, the ACA provides states the option to expand eligibility for Medicaid-funded family planning services  and provides coverage for smoking cessation services for pregnant women.  In the new private insurance marketplace, the ACA allows for direct access to obstetric and gynecological care,  requires insurers to cover maternity care,  and requires insurers to cover preventive care and screenings without cost-sharing, including all FDA-approved contraceptives and other services designated by the Health Resources and Services Agency as particularly important for women.  Together, these provisions should increase the resources available to pay for services accessed frequently or exclusively by women, so long as there are willing providers for the needed services.

The ACA does, however, restrict women's access to health care in one area: despite efforts by reproductive health and women's health advocates,  the ACA places significant limits on insurance coverage of abortion. 

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