The study listed a host of ways in which women will benefit from the new law in the coming years, including phased-in restrictions on annual benefit limits; expansion in Medicaid eligibility to cover adults with incomes below 133% of the federal poverty level; pre-existing insurance plans; and health benefit standards that include maternity care.
Women who do not have health insurance coverage through an employer and who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid—$14,404 for an individual and $29,327 for a family—will be eligible to gain coverage through new state insurance exchanges beginning in 2014, while women who own small businesses will be able to purchase a plan through the exchange. The report also said women living in states with especially high uninsured rates—Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Florida, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia—stand to gain the most from the health reform law.
And the study cited analysis of health insurance plans sold in the individual market from the National Women’s Law Center that found 13% of plans included maternity benefits, with wide variation among the states. “Starting in 2014,” the Commonwealth Fund report said, “all health plans sold through the new state insurance exchanges as well as the individual and small-group markets will be required to include coverage of maternity and newborn care, as part of a federally determined essential benefits package.”