Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law, the number of uninsured women ages 19 to 64 in the United States has fallen by nearly half, from 19 million in 2010 to 11 million in 2016, according to a new analysis of women’s health coverage and health care in the years before and after the ACA’s major insurance expansions.
Commonwealth Fund researchers say the law’s insurance reforms, such as requiring plans to include maternity coverage, not charging women more because of their gender, and expanding Medicaid eligibility, have vastly improved coverage and access to care for women. In 2016, more than two-thirds of women who had shopped for health insurance on their own in the prior three years ended up enrolling in a plan — a substantial increase from 2010. And the share of women reporting difficulty finding an affordable individual plan dropped by nearly half.
Earlier Commonwealth Fund survey findings had shown that in the three years prior to the ACA’s enactment, one-third of women who tried to buy an individual health plan had either been turned down by an insurance company, charged a higher premium because of their health, or had a specific health problem that was excluded from their plan.