The National Women’s Law Center has calculated new 2020 estimates indicating that – thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – 166 million people have insurance coverage of preventive services, including birth control, without out-of-pocket costs. This figure includes 64.3 million women, nearly 3 million more women covered since 2019 – a 5% increase. NWLC calculations also estimate how many people per state have this coverage. These coverage estimates include only those with access to preventive services without cost-sharing through private insurance, and do not include those who received the same coverage through Medicaid expansion. This year’s increase in coverage is due largely to an increased percentage of individuals enrolled in non-grandfathered plans.
The ACA requires most health plans to cover a set of preventive services without out-of-pocket costs, including a specific group of preventive services for women, like birth control, well-woman visits, and breastfeeding support and supplies. This benefit – and the birth control coverage in particular – is an incredibly popular part of the ACA and is improving women’s health and economic security across the country. Without out-of-pocket costs as a barrier to preventive services, women are better able to access the care they need. This is particularly true for contraception, where research has shown that the benefit has allowed some women to use prescription birth control for the first time and others to use more effective, longer-acting – but more expensive – methods of birth control. Yet a group of states supported by the Trump Administration is attempting to dismantle the entire ACA through the California v. Texas lawsuit. As the Supreme Court prepares to rule on this case in 2021, the health, lives, and financial security of not just the 64.3 million women who depend on this coverage, but of all the 166 million people who depend on the ACA for preventive services, are at stake.