On the Road to Recovery

September 23, 2010

Today marks an important milestone for those who have struggled with access to adequate health care — it’s the first day that certain provisions of the recent health care reform will come into effect.

As of today, these important changes will take effect:

  • Young people will be able to remain on or return to their parents’ medical insurance up to the age of 26. Previously, many students lost their parents’ coverage when they turned 19 or graduated from college.
  • New policies will be required to provide some types of preventative care, such as pap smears and mammograms, at no cost to patients.
  • Consumers will be better protected from having coverage rescinded, and plans will no longer be allowed to place commonly used lifetime caps on insurance benefits.
  • A new system has been put in place that allows consumers to appeal decisions made by their insurance companies regarding coverage or claims and to take advantage of an external review process.
  • Children under 19 cannot be denied coverage due to a preexisting condition.

Changes in the health care system are particularly important to women, because they use more health care services but still earn less than men, resulting in a high level of health care insecurity. A 2004 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that one in six women covered by private insurance put off or went without essential care due to cost.

While much remains to be done, the Affordable Care Act is helping our country take important steps in the right direction. Families are gaining access to better and more reliable health care, and, as a result, are also attaining stronger economic security. AAUW will continue to scrutinize and ensure that women and their families have access to the care they need.

Visit www.healthcare.gov to view a complete timeline of implementation for the health care reform provisions.

This post was written by AAUW Public Policy and Government Relations Fellows Emily Krueger and Emily Pfefer.

By:   |   September 23, 2010

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