Some women have been worried that they will lose insurance coverage for contraception under the Trump administration, but coverage for other women’s health benefits could also be at risk.
At or near the top of the list is guaranteed coverage of maternity services on the individual insurance market. Before the health law, it was unusual for plans purchased by individuals to cover prenatal care and childbirth. But the Affordable Care Act requires that maternity care be included as one of 10 essential health benefits.
In 2009, the year before the health law passed, just 13 percent of individual plans available to a 30-year-old woman living in a state capital offered maternity benefits, according to an analysis by the National Women’s Law Center.
Some plans offered maternity services as an add-on through a special rider that paid a fixed amount, sometimes just a few thousand dollars, the study found. But even with a rider, a woman’s financial exposure could be significant: The total payment for a vaginal birth was $18,329 in 2010, according to a study by Truven Health Analytics.
Before Obamacare, women were also generally charged higher rates for health insurance than men on the individual market. According to the law center’s analysis, 60 percent of best-selling individual plans in 2009 charged a 40-year-old nonsmoking woman more than a 40-year-old man who smoked, even in plans that didn’t include any type of maternity coverage.
That inequity disappeared under the health law, which prohibited insurers from charging women higher rates than men for the same services.
“Our concern is going back to a world where insurance companies are writing their own rules again, and returning women to those bad old days in health care and losing all the progress we’ve made,” says Gretchen Borchelt, vice president for reproductive rights and health at the National Women’s Law Center.
And preventive health services for women could be on the line if the
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