While women in the United States are justifiably concerned about losing insurance coverage for contraception after Donald Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States, there’s a possibility multiple other women’s health benefits might also be at risk. In fact, there is a legitimate chance Trumpcare might make healthcare insurance more expensive for women, reintroducing gender inequity that had disappeared under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Although Republican president-elect Donald Trump has acknowledged that there are several salient aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it is quite likely the amendments his administration might implement could reintroduce gender inequity that was quite prominent before the ACA.
With Trump currently weighing his options, and deciding on whether to repeal, amend, or replace Obamacare, women’s healthcare, and more specifically, the insurance premiums they pay, could be in jeopardy, reported Insurance Business.
Before the introduction of ACA, healthcare insurance plans that covered prenatal care and childbirth were quite rare. In fact, according to National Women’s Law Center, only 13 percent of individual plans available to a 30-year-old woman living in a state capital offered maternity benefits. That’s not all; a majority of the plans were quite protracted, and significantly restricted the payout. A few of the plans that covered maternity services did so as an add-on, and that too came through a special rider clause that gave a specific amount. Usually the amount was a couple of thousand dollars.
Needless to say, a woman’s financial exposure or vulnerability has always been significantly higher. According to a study by Truven Health Analytics, natural childbirth in America can put a severe dent in the finances. According to the study, the birthing procedure alone cost upwards of $18,000 back in 2010.
However, one of the most crucial aspects that Obamacare managed to eliminate was gender inequity that was brazenly visible, even in healthcare insurance payments. Before ACA, women, in general, were charged noticeably higher rates for health insurance than men on the individual market. In 2009, some of the best-selling individual insurance plans charged a 40-year-old nonsmoking woman more than a 40-year-old man who smoked, reported NPR. Surprisingly, this difference was visible even in plans that didn’t have anything to do with maternity coverage.
When Barack Obama introduced the ACA, he ensured the inequity was eliminated by prohibiting insurers from charging women higher rates than men for the same services. Additionally, preventive services commonly recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force have to be covered without copays or deductibles in the current iteration of the ACA. These services or recommendations include screening for breast and cervical cancer, and testing for the BRCA 1 and 2 genetic mutations. These mutations have been linked with the increased risk of contracting breast cancer.
While the financial burden of getting these screenings may soon fall on women, coverage for contraception and other services endorsed by the Health Resources and Services Administration could soon be pulled. At risk are other screening and counseling sessions for gestational diabetes, and sexually transmitted infections. Incidentally, coverage for breast-feeding support, and counselings for domestic violence might also be yanked by the Trump administration.
7 in 10 Americans support laws requiring health insurance plans to cover the full cost of birth control. Support is strongest among women. pic.twitter.com/qcgzRKKFDC— Alina Salganicoff (@a_salganicoff) November 18, 2016
Experts feel that Donald Trump and his advisors might not have the same idea about which preventive benefits for women insurers should be required to be covered as Barack Obama had. Trump recently chose Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga. for secretary of Health and Human Services, reported Benefits Pro. Price has attempted to introduce legislation to repeal and replace ACA in the past. While his efforts did not bear fruit, Price now stands with the president-elect, and his pen has more power now, fear experts.
Under Obama’s guidance, health insurance providers weren’t accorded a lot of freedom to pick and choose the treatment options that would be covered under Obamacare. However, insurance companies, under Trumpcare, might start writing their own rules again, penalizing women in the process, cautioned Gretchen Borchelt, vice president for reproductive rights and health at the National Women’s Law Center, reported Kaiser Health News.
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