Earlier today, the new Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to repeal the Health Care Law (The Affordable Care Act) that will dramatically improve the lives of unmarried women.
Calling their legislation, Repealing the job-killing healthcare law act, the reform passed with a clear majority of 245 to 189. Republicans continue to look for ways to keep the battle over healthcare alive by throwing obstacles in the way of implementation in spite of the fact that reforms will extend coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans and prevent insurance companies from cutting off treatment.
According to information from the Economic Policy Team at the Center for American Progress, one-quarter of unmarried women aged 18-64 are uninsured and a they face several obstacles to get it. First, many work in jobs that don’t offer insurance and many can’t afford it on the individual market. In some cases it’s because of discriminatory pricing based on their gender (“gender rating”), or because of pre-existing conditions, which in some states include domestic violence or just having had a baby.
And while many poor unmarried women may be able to qualify for Medicaid, eligibility rules are very strict, differ widely by state, and women without children usually do not qualify. Although some employers offer family coverage to domestic partners or to the young adult children of employees, most do not. High out-of-pocket expenses and lifetime limits on medical coverage mean that many unmarried women who have insurance but obtain care for serious illnesses or injuries may face extraordinarily high, unaffordable costs. In these situations medical bankruptcy is very common.
After the Health-Care Reform legislation comes into effect, most of these problems will be largely resolved. The expansion of an individual’s ability to obtain insurance will mean that a woman’s marital status will not be the barrier to coverage. Anyone—including unmarried women—working in a small business or for a large employer that does not offer insurance will be allowed to buy insurance through new state-based insurance marketplaces, called “exchanges.” Subsidies in the form of affordability tax credits will make insurance much more affordable for exchange customers. And large employers will be required to offer insurance to their employees or pay a penalty if at least one of their employees gets federal subsidies.
Though some of the legislation’s major provisions are already in place, many do not take effect until 2014, including the individual mandate. If you don’t have health care now and you want to guarantee it for your future, TELL CONGRESS THAT YOU SUPPORT THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT