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The Health Care Law & You

What the Health Care Law Means for Women

En español l The health care law benefits women and their families in many ways. It provides better access to coverage, ends insurance practices that discriminate because of gender and expands coverage for children.  

Creates a new way to get health insurance

  • The Health Insurance Marketplace makes it easier to compare health plans. If you don’t have insurance, you can find a plan that works for you and your family in the Health Insurance Marketplace in your state. All plans are listed in one place, so you can make apples-to-apples comparisons of benefits and prices. All plans are required to describe what’s included in simple language, so there’s no guesswork about what’s covered. Help is available every step of the way. You can get your questions answered about finding a plan or completing the application in person, by phone or online.
  • Health plans must cover the essentials. Plans offered in the marketplace are required to cover important benefits, such as doctor visits, hospitalization, emergency care, prescription drugs, preventive care and more.
  • Depending on your income, you may be able to get financial help to pay your premiums for health insurance you purchase through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
  • Everyone needs coverage. Starting in 2014, you’ll be required to have health coverage. If you don’t, you may have to pay a penalty. There are some exceptions, including people with a very low income.

Ends insurance practices that discriminate because of gender

  • Insurance companies can no longer drop your health coverage just because you get sick.
  • Beginning in 2014, the law ends the common practice of “gender rating.” In other words, an insurer will no longer be able to charge women more than men for the same coverage.
  • Insurance companies will no longer be able to deny you coverage just because of a preexisting condition, such as breast or cervical cancer, pregnancy, or cesarean section.

Ensures women receive the benefits they need to stay healthy

  • You no longer have to pay out-of-pocket costs for some preventive care services. This includes services such as immunizations, mammograms, and other screenings for certain cancers and diabetes.
  • Health plans can no longer require preauthorization or referral for OB-GYN care.

Improves access to providers that specialize in women’s health

  • The law works to provide better access to doctors and nurse practitioners who provide primary care services. This will help improve care for women with chronic health conditions who often require ongoing health care.

Expands insurance coverage for children and young adults

  • Insurers now must cover children under age 19 who have preexisting conditions.
  • If your employer-sponsored plan covers dependents, you can now include your children on your insurance policy until they turn 26.

It’s time to learn more about the health care law. Go to

Updated February 2014

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