Women, Private Health Insurance, and the Affordable Care Act

Published:November 24, 2015DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.whi.2015.10.008
      In the run up to the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many of the law's proponents were actively engaged in advocacy that promoted the law's benefits for women. In particular, there was much attention to the numerous provisions that addressed the long-standing inequities and discriminatory practices adopted by many private insurance plans that disproportionately disadvantaged women. These included charging women higher rates than men, while also excluding benefits important to women, such as maternity care and contraception. As we approach the end of the ACA's third open enrollment period, it is a good time to step back and reflect what we are learning about how the private insurance reforms and expansions have affected access to coverage for women and to identify where gaps remain.
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      Alina Salganicoff, PhD, is Vice President and Director of Women's Health Policy, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Her work focuses on health coverage and access to care, emphasizing challenges facing underserved populations, including low-income and uninsured women and women of color.


      Laurie Sobel, JD, is a Senior Policy Analyst for Women's Health Policy at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Her work aims to understand how federal, state, and local policies influence health and access to services for women.