I’ve heard a lot about it in the news, but what is the Affordable Care Act, exactly?
Obama signed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, an insurance mandate that will make healthcare more affordable and accessible to millions. The laws under the ACA are rolling out over four years. This year, enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace begins on October 1st. You can sign up for it online. The Marketplace is sort of like an online store where you can look at a whole bunch of health plans and weigh the options, finding the right fit for your needs and budget.
What are the plans in the new exchange going to cost me?
While none of the costs will be officially released until October, to get a sense of what your premiums might be through the new Marketplace, the Kaiser Family Foundation has created a helpful calculator.
What kinds of preventive services for women are we talking about?
22 types of preventive services — though not every single preventative service you may require — are provided without copayment or coinsurance under the ACA for all new and non-grandfathered private insurance plans as of August 1, 2012. We’ll only be talking about the contraceptive mandate in detail in this article, so
I love the sound of free preventive services — especially BC, but does my plan cover this?
If you buy your insurance through the Marketplace exchange after October 1st: Yes, definitely. Even if you haven’t met your yearly deductible, the ACA protects your right to all 22 preventive services without co-payment, provided that you get them through a doctor that takes your specific insurance. When you’re selecting a plan, ask for a list of health care providers in your area to make sure you’re not signing up for something without adequate or nearby doctors.
So, birth control is “free”?
Not exactly. You still have to pay a monthly premium and a yearly deductible for your health care plan under the ACA. So, unlike some opponents’ claims that the government is giving out birth control for free, willy-nilly, women will still technically pay for their contraceptives in the long run. There just won’t be out-of-pocket costs with every trip to the pharmacy.
Why is this birth control mandate so important?
Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, says it best: “This isn’t just a health care issue – it’s a fundamental economic issue for women and their families. More than a third of women voters say they’ve struggled to afford their birth control prescription at some point in their lives – and because of that, they haven’t used it consistently. But, studies show that when cost isn’t a factor, women switch to the birth control method that’s right for them – and experience fewer unintended pregnancies. Access to birth control has made it possible for generations of women to plan their families – get an education – and pursue their dreams.”