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Obama Care: How it Will Affect Women, Children and Families

Katlyn Joy |13, May 2013


Republican, Democrat or decidedly undecided we all have opinions of the political hot potato that is health care. Love it or loathe it, Obama Care is here and regardless of whether you are happy or fearful, you need to understand the real changes that the policy is bringing to your family.

Women's Health Care

For women the changes are crucial. For one, no longer are insurance companies allowed to charge us more simply because of our gender. This is a huge shift. Starting January 1, 2014 companies are prohibited from denying women coverage, turning women down due to pre-existing conditions or charging women more for services. Previously 42 states allowed insurance companies to charge women more than men.

According to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, an estimated 45 million women avoided or delayed getting medical care, including simply filling prescriptions because of costs, even if only a co-pay. Now women can get many preventative care services such as mammograms, cervical screenings, bone density scans, wellness visits and contraceptive and family planning without co-pays or deductibles.

Contraception is a key issue as the average woman spends 0 to 0 a year on co-pays for birth control pills, for example. Women will also benefit for STI testing and treatment and screening and treatment for domestic violence with no out of pocket expense.

Maternity Care

Under Obama Care women cannot be denied maternity coverage by insurance providers. Women will get prenatal care, a crucial element in ensuring infant health and preventing infant mortality. Women will also have access to lactation consultation and supplies, and screenings for common concerns during pregnancy such as gestational diabetes.

Children's Health Care

For children the health care reform will mean no denying coverage due to a pre-existing condition. The Children's Health Insurance Program or CHIP will be extended through September 2015 and expanded to enroll more children.

Not only will children receive well child visits and necessary services, but these services will also include oral and vision care as well. An estimated 12 percent of children have not seen a doctor in the past year. There is also an expansion of health care workers such as pediatricians, pediatric nurses and pediatric dentists and parents now have the option to pick their own provider for their children. Obama Care is also dedicated to ensuring children receive quality care. Up to half of the time, children do not receive recommended services for their health.

Children will not go uninsured because of costs to families as insurance companies will not be allowed to place lifetime limits on care for families. Two-thirds of families with middle class incomes and job-based insurance plans did not include their children in their plans because of the prohibitive cost to do so. Now insurance companies will have a cap on what they can require in regards to co-pays and deductibles.

Children will have insurance security regardless of whether their parents change or lose their jobs, get sick or move. Additionally, children can stay on parents' insurance plans until age 26. Children in foster care who age out of the system will receive continued health coverage until age 26 as well.

A Childhood Obesity Demonstration Project will be funded with million through the CHIP and will award grants to prevent and treat childhood obesity. Public awareness campaigns will also be undertaken to prevent this devastating health crisis for our young. Thirty-two percent of American children are overweight or obese according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, leading to consequences that can last a lifetime such as diabetes or heart disease.

Additionally families will be given the authority to choose health care providers and options and information to make informed choices in their geographic region that is simple and easy to understand.

Katlyn Joy is a mother to 7 children, and a freelance writer. She earned her Master of Arts in Creative Writing and Poetry, and a Bachelor of Arts in English and was previously an adviser to new mothers on breastfeeding through a maternity home program. She currently resides in Colorado with her family.

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