Voter Guide: Women's Health
Getting good health insurance and paying for medical care may be more challenging for women than men. An estimated 12.8 million U.S. women ages 19 to 64 were uninsured in 2014. Cost is the leading reason women are uninsured, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey. Almost half of all women who did not have insurance said it was too expensive.
About one-third of women are insured through their own jobs compared with 43% of men. About one-quarter of women have insurance coverage as a dependent on someone else’s policy, usually their spouse's. That leaves many women without affordable coverage if they divorce or their husband dies.
Under the Affordable Care Act, all new private insurance plans, and Medicare, are now required to cover certain preventive health services for free (no copayment, coinsurance, or deductible). That free preventive care includes:
- A yearly wellness checkup
- Cholesterol and blood pressure screening
- Mammogram, colonoscopy, and cervical cancer screening
- Depression screening
- Certain vaccinations
- HIV screening
- Help quitting smoking
The full list of preventive services is posted on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services web site.
Coverage for Birth Control
The law also requires health insurance companies to cover the cost of FDA-approved contraceptive methods as well as contraceptive education and counseling for women who seek it.
Employers that provide health benefits to workers are now required by law to cover the full cost of contraceptives. However, churches and other religious employers are exempt from this requirement. In the case of employers with a religious affiliation that object to paying for contraception, it is the responsibility of insurance companies, rather than the employer, to cover the full cost of contraceptives.
Repeal the Affordable Care Act
All candidates for the Republican nomination for president have vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act. If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, it is not clear what would happen to these provisions.