One of the most talked-about aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is how it will affect women’s health care. The biggest After 2014, health plans will no longer be allowed to charge different premiums based on gender, regardless of whether or not they are Qualified Health Plans (QHP) in Health Insurance Exchanges (HIX). Currently 40 states allow gender rating for health insurance premiums, according to a recently proposed rule from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS).
In addition, like all Americans, women will not be subject to co-pays for federally mandated preventive care, such as breast cancer mammograms for women above age 40. Some have argued that provision will be particularly important for women because women are more likely than men to defer recommended tests and treatments for cost reasons. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that of the 19 million uninsured women younger than 64, and therefore not enrolled in Medicare, more than half will be eligible for the ACA Medicaid expansion and another third will be eligible for federal premium and cost-sharing subsidies in the Health Insurance Exchanges.
Expenditures on Common Medical Conditions for Young Women:
A recent statistical brief from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has some interesting data on health care spending for common conditions among young women, ages 18 to 39. The AHRQ often publishes helpful briefs on health costs and spending based on its Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). This women’s health spending brief draws data from 2009.
Key findings include:
- Conditions with the most number of women with expenses for health care were mental disorders, asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchitis/upper respiratory infections (URI), and normal pregnancy/delivery.
- Normal pregnancy and delivery had the highest average expenditure per person among those common conditions, at $5,853.
- The largest portion of expenditures for bronchitis/URI was for ambulatory care.
- The largest portion of expenditures for normal pregnancy and delivery was for hospital inpatient care.
- More than half of the expenditures for asthma/COPD, bronchitis/URI, and normal pregnancy/delivery were paid by private health insurance while Medicaid paid for more than one-third of expenses for mental disorders.
To read the full statistical brief on AHRQ’s website, click here.