Insurance companies violating ACA’s requirements for women’s health care coverage
The Affordable Care Act made historic advances in coverage of women’s health care. But insurance companies are keeping many women from accessing the coverage they deserve.
The National Women’s Law Center just released two reports that show how insurance companies across the country are failing to cover the range of women’s health care mandated by the ACA.1, 2 It’s not just wrong, it’s against the law.
Women deserve access to the coverage to which they are entitled. Tell insurance companies to give it to them.
Insurance company violations of the Affordable Care Act take far too many health care options off the table for women. The National Women’s Law Center looked at plans offered by 100 insurance companies in 15 states and found that more than half of them were violating the ACA. Such a widespread pattern of noncompliance makes it more than likely that the problems are systemic and nationwide.
Here are some of the ways that women are being left out:
Birth control: Companies are either not covering all FDA-approved methods of birth control; demanding out-of-pocket costs for them; or limiting coverage to generic birth control. Companies are also charging co-payments for, or limiting access to, the counseling and follow-up visits that are a normal part of birth control use.
Maternity and postnatal coverage: Some companies arbitrarily limit maternity benefits, including only covering a single ultrasound during the pregnancy. They also exclude maternity coverage for dependents and restrict it outside of the plan’s service area. After birth, they limit breastfeeding education or access to breast pumps.
Preventive and well-woman services: Companies are requiring co-pays for preventive care and limiting the frequency of well-woman visits. They are also limiting the scope of gynecological exams.
In addition, insurers are failing to provide non-discriminatory coverage by denying or restricting coverage for pregnancy, restricting coverage based on a woman’s age, and excluding coverage related to gender transition.
When the National Women’s Law Center worked with local activists to confront insurers in several states, the insurers made changes to bring their plans into compliance with the ACA. But we know that they would never have made the changes on their own.
The more of us who speak out, the more pressure insurance companies will feel to stop breaking the law and provide real, equitable coverage to women.
Thanks for standing up for women’s health.
“State of Women’s Coverage: Health Plan Violations of the Affordable Care Act,” National Women’s Law Center, April 2015.
“State of Birth Control Coverage: Health Plan Violations of the Affordable Care Act,” National Women’s Law Center, April 2015.