Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that over three million people have selected health insurance plans through the new Health Insurance Marketplaces. It’s no surprise that 55 percent of these new enrollees are women. Because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurance purchased on the Marketplaces offers women new benefits and protections while also providing financial help to pay for coverage for themselves and their family.
HHS released cumulative data for the first four months of open enrollment. The HHS report [PDF] provides detailed data on the plans selected on Healthcare.gov, the federally facilitated marketplace (FFM), and provides more limited information about the 15 state-based marketplaces. We looked at the data for the plans selected through the FFM and crunched the numbers to see how many women – specifically, those of reproductive age – are enrolling in health coverage:
- Over 430,000 women of reproductive age (between the ages of 18 and 44) have selected a health insurance plan.
- Nearly 40 percent of all female enrollees on Healthcare.gov are of reproductive age.
- Of all enrollees aged 18 to 44, 55 percent are women.
All 430,000 of these women will have access to important health services and benefits. All plans cover essential health services, including maternity care, hospitalization, emergency room visits, prescription drugs, behavioral health, and preventive care. Before the ACA, most insurance policies purchased on the individual market didn’t cover maternity care and only a limited number of insurers offered maternity coverage for an additional fee.
For women of reproductive age, who are the most likely to need maternity care, maternity coverage is an important benefit that helps improve the health of women and their babies. In a large state like Texas, for example, over 52,000 women newly enrolled in health insurance now have maternity coverage when they need it.
The large number of women in this age group enrolling in health insurance shows that women want and need health coverage. By requiring plans to cover maternity care, as well as many other important services for women, the ACA corrects longstanding problems in women’s health insurance. As open enrollment lasts until the end of March, women’s enrollment numbers will continue to rise as they take advantage of the quality, affordable health insurance available on the Health Insurance Marketplace.