Seven Things Women Need to Know About the Affordable Care Act, Smithtown Matters, Oct. 9, 2013

Published: 10.09.13| Updated: 10.09.13

Op-Ed by PPHP President/CEO Reina Schiffrin


October 1st marked a turning point for nearly 12 million uninsured women, ages 19-44, in the U.S. Young women, in particular, stand to benefit dramatically from the Affordable Care Act, often called, “Obamacare.”


Women have unique health care needs during their reproductive years. The average woman spends three decades actively trying to prevent pregnancy and about five years trying to get pregnant, being pregnant, or in the immediate post-partum state. During these years, she experiences ongoing health care needs and major health care events. Yet this is also the age when many women have spotty health insurance coverage or none at all. Women ages 18 to 29 need access to health care mostly for reproductive health services, yet they are disproportionately in the ranks of the uninsured: representing more than one-fourth of all uninsured women.


The new law will dramatically change this statistic and improve the health coverage and care for millions of Americans.  That’s why it’s critical for women without insurance to understand what the law means for them, what sort of financial help they are eligible for, and how to get enrolled.


Here are 7 ways women will benefit from the Affordable Care Act: 


1. Prescription birth control will be available without a co-pay. Every plan will cover all kinds of birth control (pill, implants, IUDs) but the specific brands available without a co-pay vary by insurance plan.

2. Annual well-woman exams will be provided without a co-pay. These regular checkups may include pelvic exams, breast cancer screenings, STI testing, and counseling on birth control options.

3. Women cannot be charged more for their health plans simply because of their gender.’

4. Women can no longer be denied insurance for pre-existing conditions like breast cancer, having a C-section, or being the victim of domestic violence.

5. All insurance plans will have to cover birth control and maternity care, as well as doctor visits, hospitalizations, prescription medications, ER care and more.

6. Some maternity services will be available without a co-pay, including breastfeeding counseling and supplies.

7. Testing for HIV and other STIs will also be available without a copay.


As the leading women’s health care provider in Suffolk County, Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic is particularly aware of how the new law will impact young women – and we are committed to helping everyone understand how they can get covered. The website is the go-to destination for information for women about the new health care law and for help getting enrolled.  The site, available in English and Spanish, offers a plan finder, checklist, calculator, cheat sheets, infographics, FAQs, lists of insurance and health care words to know.  It’s all there to help women get themselves -- and their families-- covered. 


Reina Schiffrin


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