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Health Care Reform for Women Advocacy Sheet

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There is no doubt that it can be expensive being a woman. From Pap smears to pregnancy, breast exams, and other tests, women may struggle with their insurance company to pay for preventative care. The new health care reform law is at least in part designed to help this situation.

Here are some things you may want to know regarding health care reform in regard to women’s health:

1. In the past, my premiums have been higher than for my male counterparts. Does the health care reform law change this?

The new health care reform law makes it illegal for insurance companies to charge higher premiums based on your gender, health status or a preexisting condition. The idea here is that with more individuals covered, the need to delay seeking care based on cost concern may be eliminated, or at least decreased.

2. I have a preexisting condition--what other health insurance reform applies to me?

Those with a preexisting condition may qualify to take part in a temporary subsidized high-risk insurance pool to help protect you from medical bankruptcy. Once the reformed health insurance exchanges are in operation (by 2014), the high-risk pool should no longer be necessary.

Additionally, if you are being treated for a preexisting condition, the new law may be able to help bridge the gap in paying for your medications. If you are on Medicaid, you may automatically receive a $250.00 rebate check if you qualify.

3. My current coverage doesn’t cover annual preventive care.

New plans going forward and existing policies (as of 2011) under the new law must provide prevention and wellness care at no charge, and exempting these benefits from deductibles and co-pays.

4. What additional coverage will be available in new plans this year, and existing policies starting next year?

Women will be able to seek care for basic health services such as Pap/pelvic and breast exams, and also will be able to receive maternity benefits which previously might not have been covered.

5. I’m not currently in the workforce, what options do I have for coverage?

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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