Hogan Lovells

Hogan Lovells

Thursday, June 28, 2012

How will the health care decision affect women?

In a 5-4 ruling today, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate as a constitutional exercise of Congressional taxing power. Our lawyers have provided an in-depth analysis on how this decision will impact our clients and the future of the U.S. healthcare system.

Some of the big implications of the Affordable Care Act for women:

More of the population will be covered: According to a ForbesWoman blog post, there are currently 19 million uninsured women in the United States. When the ACA takes full effect in 2014, 10.3 million of those women will be covered by Medicaid due to their low-income status.

Elimination of gender rating: Insurers will be barred from charging women more than men for the same health care coverage – a practice that currently costs women about $1 billion per year.

No preventative care co-pays: Under the ACA, most gender-specific preventative care will no longer require a co-pay. According to Lois Uttley, co-founder of Raising Women's Voices, this includes “contraception, breastfeeding supports (including rental of breast pumps), annual well-woman exams, and screening for gestational diabetes, domestic violence, and sexual transmitted diseases."

Change in defining preexisting conditions: Insurance companies may no longer treat pregnancy, previous C-sections, breast cancer, or sexual assault or abuse as preexisting conditions that preclude coverage for treatment related to these issues.

Gains for mothers: According to the March of Dimes, only 13 percent of insurance plans currently cover maternity care, which will be a required coverage area under the ACA. Working mothers at companies with more than 50 employees will be provided a provide place to pump breast milk during required breaks.

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