This blog post is a part of NWLC’s Mother’s Day 2012 blog series. For all our Mother’s Day posts, please click here.

Many of my friends will celebrate their first Mother’s Day being a mom this year. Others have recently expanded their families or have a first child on the way.

I’m happy that all these kids were born after the health care law was passed – because that means my friends can be secure that their kids will have access to health care. That includes my friend Robyn, whose son Jax had to have heart surgery when he was only three months old. Without the health care law, Robyn would have to worry about Jax hitting a lifetime limit on his insurance or being denied coverage for having a pre-existing condition.

The health care law also improves the health of women – like my friend Robyn and all my friends who are new moms.

Preventive Care with No Cost Sharing for New and Expecting Moms

All new health plans are already providing preventive services – such as cancer, diabetes and hypertension screenings – with no cost sharing. Starting this August, the list of preventive services will expand to cover women’s health services including many services important to expecting and new moms. These services include:

  • Prenatal Care: Testing for gestational diabetes without cost sharing and a well-woman visit including prenatal care means that expecting moms will know what steps they need to take to have a healthy pregnancy.
  • Breastfeeding Support and Supplies: New moms will have access to lactation counseling and rental of breastfeeding supplies without copays or deductibles. In addition to the preventive services, employers are now required to provide a clean space—that is not a bathroom—for new moms to pump.
  • Contraceptive Coverage: The full range of FDA-approved contraceptive coverage, including birth control pills, rings, implants, tubal ligation and more will be provided by plans without cost sharing. This is important to new moms because birth control helps women plan pregnancies so moms can access preconception and prenatal care and space pregnancies to help have a healthy baby.

More Access to Care for Moms and Their Kids

There are many more aspects of the health care law that help new moms. From expanding access to care to strengthening insurance coverage, moms and their kids will have more access to health care.

  • No Pre-Existing Conditions: Because of the health care law, children under 19 can no longer be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. This means that new moms don’t have to worry that a stay in the NICU or a childhood diagnosis of asthma will mean their child won’t have access to health insurance. In 2014, no adult will be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition—so moms know their children will continue to have access to health insurance when they grow up.
  • Maternity and Newborn Care: Starting in 2014, all health insurance plans will have to include maternity and newborn care. This means women buying coverage in the individual market will no longer find themselves without options including maternity care or be forced to buy an expensive rider. Expecting moms will not have to forgo important prenatal visits or make decisions about delivery based on cost rather than quality and medical necessity.
  • Medicaid Expansion: By 2014, all states must open up their Medicaid programs to everyone with incomes below about $25,000 for a family of 3. This means that many moms who have their children covered through the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) but were not eligible for coverage themselves will no longer be uninsured. Expanded coverage means moms will be able to get the care they need so they can care for their kids.