Being a Woman in the Marketplace

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How does Obamacare coverage affect women’s procedures such as prenatal and maternity care?

Honestly, I don’t plan to have children any time soon, and neither do any of my friends. So when Carlos at CRC Capital Group, Inc. asked whether my friends and I have talked about this, or know anything about how Marketplace plans deal with things like prenatal and maternity care, I had to admit that I had no clue.

Since no one is going to learn about women in the Marketplace for me, I immediately started researching for myself. This post will be a really brief summary of what I found.

Any self-respecting woman should like the ACA

Regardless of your feelings about our 44th president, the fact of the matter is that the Affordable Care Act has done some pretty cool things for women in the Marketplace. I’ll talk about a couple of those reasons, especially focusing on coverage of prenatal and maternity care.

Women can’t be penalized just for being women…

Well, when it comes to healthcare anyways (no reported decrease in sexism in any other area, unfortunately). Before Obamacare, being a woman was as good as considered a preexisting condition. Insurance companies would use “gender rating” systems to justify charging women more on average for insurance. Largely, the idea behind this was the high cost of prenatal and maternity care, plus the erroneous habit of viewing pregnancy as a preexisting condition. Since the ACA, though, those schemes have been recognized as discriminatory and have been eschewed.

Things like prenatal supplements fall into the “preventative care” category

Preventative care measures are largely covered under the ACA. Since supplements like folic acid are shown to decrease the risk of birth defects (folic acid is linked to preventing neural tube defect), plans are required to cover them in full when delivered by an in-network provider. Plus, prenatal visits are free!

Other preventative measures covered include the following: contraceptives, HPV tests, mammograms, and well-woman visits. Before the ACA, such services (especially the ever-controversial contraceptive) didn’t necessarily have to be included in a plan, and often weren’t covered

Finally, let’s talk about childbirth

I don’t know if you knew this, but having a baby is really expensive. If you were to give birth in a hospital uninsured, you would easily rack up a $30,000+ bill ($50,000+ if you have a cesarean).

With insurance, those bills drop to about $2,200-$2,700 for uncomplicated vaginal and cesarean births, respectively. That’s literally at least a 90% decrease in out-of-pocket cost.

Bottom line…

If you are a female and planning to have a child, you really should be insured. Not only will your prenatal care be covered by a Marketplace plan, but the tremendous cost of actually giving birth is absolutely fractioned by insurance coverage. To use a cliché, when it comes to prenatal and maternity care, it really does pay to be insured.

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