Thirty million women will benefit from the new health reform law, according to a new report from The Commonwealth Fund. In the first analysis of its kind, the authors report that the law will stabilize and reverse the growing exposure to health costs that women now experience.
Over the next ten years, more than 15 million women will benefit by subsidized health insurance. And, another 14.5 million women who are considered underinsured (those who have health coverage that does not adequately protect them from high medical expenses), will also benefit.
Women are just as likely to be uninsured as men. However, their health care needs leave them more vulnerable to high health care costs and problems related to loss of health insurance. Because insurance carriers consider women, particularly those of reproductive age, higher risk than men, women report greater difficulties gaining coverage in the individual insurance market and are charged much higher premiums for the same benefits than men of the same age. And, currently most individual policies do not cover pregnancy.
An estimated 100,000 uninsured women will gain coverage in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), which will provide temporary coverage to adults with pre-existing conditions who are uninsured during 2010 to 2013. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia began enrollment in PCIPs in July, and 12 will begin to enroll adults in August; in the 21 states without a PCIP the federal government began operation of a PCIP July 1, 2010.
Beginning in 2014, Medicaid coverage expansions and subsidized coverage through state health insurance exchanges could assist 15 million working-age women who currently lack insurance. The majority of these gains come from Medicaid coverage expansions that may affect up to eight million currently insured women who earn up to $14,000 or are in families with incomes up to $29,000.