The 5 Best Things Obamacare Has Done for Women

7029981403_52dc523d79_zFive years ago today, the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. Since then, despite at least 50 attempts by Republicans to repeal the law and more than 100 court challenges to the Act’s contraceptive mandate, more than 16 million Americans have gained health coverage because of the ACA, according to the White House.

“Five years and dozens of Republican repeal votes later, it’s clear that the Affordable Care Act is working,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) in a press release. “It has bent the cost curve, provided millions of women with free preventive care, and saved seniors thousands and thousands on their prescription drugs. The Affordable Care Act works, and every day, more and more American families are experiencing its benefits.”

The contraceptive mandate—a provision of the Act that requires employers to cover some contraceptive costs for employees—is one of a few ways Obamacare has expanded health-care access for women. Below, take a look at five other ways the ACA has helped women.

1. 8 million women have gained health insurance.

Plus, the reduction in the uninsured rate was 27 percent larger for women than the reduction for men (through the middle of 2014).

2. 30 million women have gained access to preventive services without cost-sharing.

An estimated 48.5 million women in total with private health insurance now have access to services such as well-woman visits and cervical cancer screenings—without any out-of-pocket fees.

3. Women can no longer be charged more than men for health insurance.

According to one study, 92 percent of the bestselling health insurance plans in the individual market could charge women more than men for the same coverage, even if they did not cover maternity care.

4. 65 million women with preexisting conditions can no longer be denied coverage.

That includes “conditions” such as pregnancy.

5. 8.7 million women gained maternity coverage.

That’s one of 10 “essential health benefit” categories that private and group health insurance plans are required to cover, which also include prescription drugs and newborn care.

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Photo courtesy of Flickr user LaDawna Howard licensed under Creative Commons 2.0


Stephanie hails from Toronto, Canada. She is a Ms. writer, a master of journalism candidate and a hip hop dancer/instructor/choreographer. She got her start in feminist journalism at the age of 16 when she was a member of the first editorial collective at Shameless magazine—and she has never looked back.