Women especially when pregnant have special health care needs. How are those health care needs addressed in the new health care bill? The new health care bill that was signed into law on March 23, 2010 means that all Americans will have access to affordable healthcare hopefully of quality care too. The new health care reform law – Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or HR 3590 provides protection for all Americans and contains several provisions specific to women.
The law has a purpose of protecting Americans against the worst cases regarding fraud in the medical insurance field. Everyone presently uninsured will be able to obtain health care according to the new health care bill including women and those pregnant. What other benefits will there be to pregnant women under the new heath care bill?
One big change is that small-group insurance plans notorious for charging higher premiums for women than they do for men will be barred from doing this under the new health care plan. In the past women who could not afford to pay higher premiums and were pregnant are anticipating becoming pregnant were faced with a dilemma of not being able to get the medical care they desired and needed during a crucial time in their lives – while pregnant and responsible for the well-being of another human being’s growth and development.
Previously, health insurance companies often denied coverage for pre-existing health conditions including previous C-section or simply because they had previously been pregnant. The new health care bill prevents this type of insurance denial from occurring. In fact, the new bill mandates that all health care plans include maternity benefits being required to cover prenatal care, maternal care, and newborn care. Other services that may be needed following pregnancy including mental services and pediatric care, vision and dental services must also be a part of the health care benefits package offered to women.
The effective date varies by state but the new health care bill also provides for home visits through Medicaid for prenatal and postpartum nurse home-visit programs. This is an essential part of providing quality care to the pregnant woman and new mom.
Pregnant women will also enjoy other benefits that are part of the new health care bill including state and federally funded programs for low-income families that will cover freestanding birth centers, assuring women who are nursing to be provided a place to pump while at work, Medicaid reimbursement to those providing midwifery duties as of January 2011 increasing the quality of home birth and center births, money that will be available for research into the causes and treatments for postpartum depression will also be a part of the new health care bill. The new health care bill will also mandate that new health plans be required to provide well-baby checkups as well as immunizations for women and children all preventive services that increase the quality of care given to women and their children.
Health care issues are one very important consideration for any woman thinking about conceiving. She asks questions about the care options she has available to her and that are affordable to her. A pregnant woman planning ahead wants to be sure that now only will she have the quality of medical care that she needs and deserves while pregnant but that she and her baby will have the medical care they need during delivery and during the postpartum period of time when type of quality of medical care can have a direct impact on future health.
During all three of my pregnancies with my daughters health care concerns were present. Like many women, an unexpected change in employment at the end of my second trimester spelled disaster regarding health care coverage. Many women and their unborn children are suddenly without coverage when they need it the most. This health care bill will provide a bridge for coverage no matter what unexpected changes occur in your life during pregnancy.
My second daughter was born too early in part due to lower than normal standards of care. The hope is that with so many critical eyes on how this new bill will be addressed, the quality of health care for everyone including low-income families will be raised. When health care is not only provided for but the level of care is of good quality all women and their children should be expected to receive the level of care that leads to decreased health care risks to babies and better care for pregnant women.
Goudreau, J. (2010) What The Health Care Bill Means For Women
Forbes.com Retrieved on June 3, 2010 http://www.forbes.com/2010/03/23/health-care-bill-peolosi-forbes-woman-well-being-health-insurance-expenses.html