Affordable Care Act expands, equalizes care to women, proponents say
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Affordable Care Act will expand and equalize health care for women, proponents of the law said Tuesday.
Under health-care reform, about 17 million women in the United States will get coverage.
Dozens of people attended a town hall meeting about the ACA's impact on women's health hosted by the West Virginians for Affordable Health Care and other local agencies.
The meeting was held Tuesday evening at the Schoenbaum Family Enrichment Center on Charleston's West Side.
Under the Affordable Care Act, preventative care services must be covered without co-pay or deductible, said Renate Pore, health care policy director for WVAHC.
Those services include mammography, cervical cancer screenings, domestic violence screening and counseling, well-woman visits, all FDA-approved contraceptive methods and more.
Women may need to instruct their physicians that these services are preventative and not diagnostic, or patients could be billed for co-pays and deductibles, a representative from the West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner said.
Medicare will cover preventative services, too, Pore said.
"The federal government wants seniors to be healthy and getting preventive care," she said.
The ACA also provides reproductive health care for women, Pore said. However, the law doesn't change the rules about abortion services. Federal funds are limited for abortion to the cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of the pregnant woman, she said.
While many of the measures under the Affordable Care Act are in place, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has yet to decide whether to expand Medicaid to those who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line, or $26,300 for a family of three.
If Tomblin were to expand Medicaid, it would mean Medicaid coverage for 125,000 West Virginians, including 63,000 women, Pore said.
The federal government would pay for all of the expansion during the first three years. After that, the federal match would gradually decline to 90 percent.
Pore encouraged those attending the meeting to tell the governor to expand Medicaid.
"I think it's time now to start pressuring the governor to get with the program," she said.
Results from an actuary study about the cost of Medicaid expansion are expected in March.
Reach Lori Kersey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-1240.