Interactive Quiz: How the Affordable Care Act Benefits Women
As we mark the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, test your knowledge about the many ways the law benefits women and families.
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- How many women ages 18 to 64 were uninsured in the United States in 2011?
- 5 million
- 11 million
- 19 million
Correct Answer: 19 million
Due largely to the high cost of health coverage, especially for women without access to employer-based coverage, 19 million American women between the ages of 18 and 64 were uninsured in 2011. Uninsured women receive lower-quality care, and they generally have poorer health outcomes than insured women. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, however, women’s access to high-quality affordable health care will increase dramatically, as key reforms are implemented and the country moves toward near-universal health coverage. For more information on women’s health insurance coverage, see the Kaiser Family Foundation.
- 32 million
- True or false: More than half of women report delaying needed medical care because of cost.
Correct Answer: True
More than half of American women report delaying needed medical care because of cost, and one-third of women report giving up basic necessities such as food, heat, or rent to pay for health care. For more information on how the Affordable Care Act eliminates cost burdens for women and protects them from medical bankruptcy, see this fact sheet from the White House.
- Prior to the Affordable Care Act, how much more did insurance companies sometimes charge women than men for the same plan?
- Up to 25 percent more
- Up to 50 percent more
- Up to 100 percent more
- Up to 150 percent more
Correct Answer: Up to 150 percent more
Before the Affordable Care Act, women were often charged much more for their health insurance coverage solely because of their gender—a practice known as gender rating. Indeed, women still pay $1 billion more than men each year in health insurance premiums for the same benefits. The Affordable Care Act changes that by ending insurers’ gender discrimination and making sure that women have equal access to the care they need. See this fact sheet from the White House and report from the National Women’s Law Center.
- The Affordable Care Act helps women and their families in which of the following ways?
- Eliminates lifetime limits on coverage
- Provides a tax credit for those who cannot afford quality health insurance
- Bans insurers from dropping someone from coverage when they get sick
- Cracks down on insurers’ excessive overhead spending and makes sure they spend more money on health care services
- Guarantees maternity coverage
- All of the above
Correct Answer: All of the above
The Affordable Care Act enacts a series of crucial reforms that will vastly improve the quality of care for women and their families while also reducing the financial burden of health care. The Affordable Care Act ends some of the insurance industry’s most brutal practices such as dropping people from insurance plans when they get sick and refusing to cover maternity benefits in 87 percent of individual market plans. It also implements reforms that reduce the cost of health care for everyone. For a list of the top five ways health reform is helping women and families, see this column from the Center for American Progress.
- None of the above
- True or false: Before the Affordable Care Act, health plans were allowed to deny or exclude coverage to any child under the age of 19 based on pre-existing health conditions such as asthma and diabetes.
Correct Answer: True
Before the Affordable Care Act was passed, it was legal to deny children coverage because of a pre-existing health condition—even if they were born with it. Now, under the health care law, plans that cover children can no longer exclude, limit, or deny coverage to a child under age 19 solely based on a health problem or disability that the child developed before a parent applied for coverage. This rule applies to all job-related health plans as well as individual health insurance policies issued after March 23, 2010. Young adults can also stay on their parent’s policy until they are 26 years old. For more information see Healthcare.gov.
- Prior to the Affordable Care Act, which of the following was considered a pre-existing condition for which a woman could be denied health coverage?
- Having had a Caesarean section
- Having had breast cancer
- Having survived domestic violence or sexual assault
- All of the above
Correct Answer: All of the above
Prior to the Affordable Care Act, women with conditions such as breast cancer or those who had ever had a Caesarean section could be denied needed coverage because of those conditions. Even sexual assault and domestic violence were sometimes categorized as pre-existing conditions. But as of 2014 it will no longer be legal to deny women coverage because of a pre-existing condition, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. See the National Women’s Law Center, "Still Nowhere to Turn: Insurance Companies Treat Women Like a Pre-Existing Condition."
- None of the above
- Which of the following is not currently guaranteed under the preventive services provisions of the Affordable Care Act?
- Mammograms for women over the age of 40
- Pap smears
Correct Answer: Contraception
The provisions of the Affordable Care Act that cover services to help prevent people from becoming sick currently include mammograms for women over 40, pap smears, blood pressure and obesity screening, depression screening for adolescents and adults, smoking and alcohol cessation programs for adults, and a wide range of prenatal screenings and tests. Beginning in August 2012 that list will be expanded to include all FDA-approved methods of contraception and sterilization, as well as annual well-woman visits, lactation consultation and supplies, screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence, screening for gestational diabetes, DNA testing for the human papillomavirus for women 30 and older, counseling for sexually transmitted infections, and counseling and screening for HIV. For more information see Healthcare.gov.
- Blood pressure and obesity screening and counseling
- How many women have already received preventive services at no additional cost through guarantees in the Affordable Care Act?
- More than 5 million
- More than 10 million
- More than 15 million
- More than 20 million
Correct Answer: More than 20 million
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Americans who are joining a new health plan, as well as Medicare beneficiaries, can receive recommended preventive services such as mammograms, pap smears, new baby care, and well-child visits without a co-pay, deductible, or any other out-of-pocket cost-sharing expenses. By February 2012, 20.4 million women between 18 and 64 in private plans had already taken advantage of this new provision of the health care law. For more information see Healthcare.gov.
- True or false: Employers with a religious objection to contraception are required to provide their employees with contraceptive coverage under the preventive services guarantee of the Affordable Care Act.
Correct Answer: False
Nonprofit religious employers that object to birth control and are not already covering it will not have to include contraception coverage in their plans. Instead, women who work for an objecting employer will be able to obtain contraception coverage directly from their insurance company. Despite this accommodation, conservative lawmakers are still fighting hard to deny women access to this basic aspect of their health care. For more information see the recent columns from the Center for American Progress about why contraception coverage is important for women’s preventive care and how the administration’s policy on contraception actually strengthens religious liberty.
- What is the total potential annual cost for an uninsured woman who pays for oral contraceptives and related doctor’s visits entirely out of pocket?
- $120 per year
- $350 per year
- $595 per year
- $1,210 per year
Correct Answer: $1,210 per year
Many people seem to think birth control is affordable, but high costs are one of the primary barriers to contraceptive access. Between the cost of the monthly supply of oral contraceptives and the cost of the doctors’ visits needed to have an exam and obtain a prescription, women’s out-of-pocket costs for oral contraceptives range between $215 and $1,210 per year depending on their insurance coverage. For more information about the cost of the most common family planning methods, see the Center for American Progress fact sheet on the high costs of birth control.
- Interactive Map: How Health Reform Is Helping Your State by Emily Oshima and Katrina Womble
- Two Years of Health Reform: Millions Benefited, Millions Saved by Emily Oshima and Katrina Womble
- The Affordable Care Act: Two Years of Health Reform
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Director, Women's Health & Rights Program