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Happy Fifth Birthday, ACA!

Can you believe it? The ACA is already five years old. It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating the law’s passage. Today, we can celebrate the law’s continued success.

It’s clear the law is working. Because of the ACA, women are protected from discriminatory health insurance practices, health coverage is more affordable and easier to obtain, and women have better access to many of the health services they need.

At the close of this year’s open enrollment period, 11.7 million people [PDF] signed up for affordable health insurance coverage through the Marketplace. Notably, the majority of the enrollees are women, making up fifty-four percent of all enrollees. That means that over six million women now have access to important services such as maternity care, hospitalization, mental health care, and preventive services because of the ACA. Eighty-six percent of enrollees are receiving financial assistance to make their comprehensive health coverage more affordable.

The first five years of the ACA have done so much to improve women’s access to health coverage, but the attacks keep coming. Right now, the Supreme Court is considering a case that could jeopardize the financial assistance for women enrolled in health coverage in the 37 states that rely on the federal government to set up their Marketplace. Based on the new enrollment numbers, we estimate that approximately 4.2 million women who are currently enrolled with financial assistance could lose the financial help they need to afford coverage. Separate analysis shows that even more women are eligible for but not currently enrolled in Marketplace plans with financial assistance. Their access to financial help is also threatened by this case.

Even after some setbacks over the years, the ACA has been a game-changer for women’s health. In the next five years, even more women will benefit from the ACA and I look forward to writing about the number of women enrolled when the ACA turns ten, twenty, and hundred.