Policy Feature Issue: Women Under Obamacare
Working Americans throughout the country continue to struggle through an anemic economic recovery. Despite the President’s assertions, Obamacare will only intensify the economic strains they feel. For women especially, the effect of Obamacare’s provisions will prevent them from receiving the comprehensive care they and their families need and will directly impact their financial decision-making. There are a number of significant effects that Obamacare will have on the cost, quality, and flexibility of women’s health and the healthcare needs of their families.
Facts You Need to Know:
- Women are increasingly becoming primary-income earners among households. 62% of women report being at least collaboratively involved with their partner in financial decision-making. Obamacare includes 21 new taxes, many of which will still affect families making less than $250,000. Despite the President’s promise that families will save $2,500 on their premiums, the average family premium has instead grown by $3,000 since 2008.
- Obamacare will increase Medicaid rolls by up to 17 million people, most of them men (currently 3/5 of Medicaid patients are women). This will further decrease the quality of medical care that women on Medicaid receive.
- Obamacare’s excise tax on high-cost health plans disproportionately affects women. In 2018, Obamacare imposes a 40% tax on the amount of premiums above individual and family thresholds. Many women desire or need more comprehensive plans due to family growth. Some older women, as they approach Medicare eligibility, suffer from chronic conditions that increase the cost of their health plans. As a result, this excise tax magnifies already increasing costs for women.
- The US Preventive Services Task Force, which decides what preventative health services should be mandated by Obamacare (covered in full without co-pay), has outlined a number of services that will end up not being covered by health plans. Included among the services deemed non-mandatory are Cervical Cancer screenings in those over 65, Clinical Breast Exams in women older than 40, Breast Cancer screening using digital mammography or MRI, and screening for ovarian cancer and genes that raise breast cancer risks. Many of these services are necessary to comprehensive women’s health and will raise the cost of care for women among all age groups.
Why is Repealing Obamacare Important?
- For many women, Obamacare will negatively affect the quality of their care as well as the price they pay. A 2012 survey reported that 89% of insured women are satisfied with their current coverage, and a vast majority of women want flexibility in the health insurance plans they purchase. The community rating requirements, together with the essential benefit mandates, will not only raise premiums, but will significantly limit the flexibility that women need to provide for their care and that of their families. Moreover, the decisions of the Preventative Services Task Force and other government boards will shift the decision making from women’s doctors to that of the government.
- For women who purchase more comprehensive health plans, the economic burden of Obamacare’s mandates and taxes will force them to change their coverage. Many women with chronic conditions or large families who purchase these plans will simply be unable to afford the coverage they need.