Kaiser Women’s Health Survey Finds Many Women Ignorant Regarding ACA Benefits

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Kaiser Family Foundation published a survey in May 2014 which says many women in the U.S. are more or less ignorant about the potential benefits of ACA.

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Kaiser Women’s Health Survey Finds Many Women Ignorant Regarding ACA Benefits

  1. 1. Kaiser Women’s Health Survey Finds Many Women Ignorant Regarding ACA Benefits While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) can help a large number of women who face difficulties in accessing health care in the U.S., Women’s Health Survey by Kaiser Family Foundation revealed that many women are ignorant of the benefits brought to them by ACA. Princeton Survey Research Associates conducted this national survey for Kaiser Family Foundation, which surveyed 3,015 women late in 2013. The survey addressed various topics critical to women’s healthcare and the changes women may experience because of Obamacare. The plight of uninsured, low-income and minority women and groups of women was also highlighted. Key Findings The survey examined women’s coverage, accessibility to and affordability of care, their connections to healthcare providers and use of preventive services including contraception, screening tests, and counseling services. Here are the key findings listed in the Kaiser Health News report.
  2. 2.  Though 18 percent of women aged 18 to 64 were found to be uninsured, minorities and low-income women were found to be more likely not to have coverage. At the end of 2013, four in 10 low-income women were uninsured compared to five percent of higher-income women.  Out-of-pocket costs were found to be a major impediment to access care for women than men as the survey found 22 percent of women aged 18 to 64 had not filled a prescription or had skipped a dose of medicine in 2013 compared to 12 percent of men (of the same age group). 28 percent of women had problems in paying off their medical bills compared to 19 percent of men. As per the survey, lower wages of women result in fewer financial assets, less wealth and higher rates of poverty.  If we consider the case of preventive care in the survey, 60 percent of women were unaware of the fact that the insurers must cover at least one preventive visit in a year. Though 57 percent of women knew that services like mammograms are
  3. 3. covered, only 34 percent of women in the age group 18 to 44 knew that insurers help pay for breast pump rentals. Around 33 percent of women were not aware that now insurers cannot charge higher premiums for women than men.  While four in 10 women of reproductive age had an HIV or STI test in the past two years, half of them thought that the tests were included in routine gynecological visits. Even though 60 percent of women in the age group 15 to 44 had recently had a conversation with a provider regarding contraception, only 50 percent talked about sexual history while 34 percent talked about HIV and 30 percent about STIs. How ACA Actually Benefits Women  Without any additional costs, women get access to important preventive services such as annual well women visit, screening for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer, smoking-cessation treatment and services, breastfeeding support and equipment, screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence and so on. It is
  4. 4. estimated that more than 47 million women have guaranteed preventive care access with no cost-sharing under ACA. The healthcare law also insists on to that cover all FDA-approved birth control methods without any co-pays.  No insurer can deny health insurance coverage on the basis of a preexisting health condition such as pregnancy, breast cancer, depression or being a victim of domestic violence. This will allay the concerns of providers who find preexisting conditions on patients’ records while scheduling appointments. There are no annual and lifetime dollar limits on coverage as well.  Obamacare health plans offer ten essential health benefits, which include maternity care. It is estimated that around 8.7 million American women currently buying individual insurance will get coverage for maternal services while most of them will not require a referral from a primary care provider to obtain obstetrical or gynecological services.
  5. 5.  Lower-income women can get federal subsidies for the plans purchased through Marketplace. Under ACA, those who earn up to 400% (up to $45,960 for an individual and $94,200 for a family of four) of the poverty line can get subsidy in premium cost. Those who earn less than 250% of the poverty line ($28,725 for a single person and $58,875 for a family of four) can get extra subsidies for out-of- pocket costs such as deductibles and co- payments. The actual subsidy amount depends on the income, age and location of the enrollee. Overall, the survey points out the need for improving both provider and consumer knowledge regarding the provisions of the new healthcare law. Healthcare experts opine that many providers don’t do the tests they are supposed to do owing to this knowledge gap. Not only will this gap limit healthcare access for women, but it will also affect the providers’ revenue. Without insurance verification of each patient having ACA coverage thoroughly for federal subsidies, if any, they won’t get proper reimbursement from insurance companies. Kaiser Health News report says that Cara James, director of the Office of
  6. 6. Minority Health at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced the launch of a national campaign to reach women and families on insurance benefits in June, which will be really helpful to enhance awareness regarding ACA benefits.

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