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Every year National Women’s Health Week commences on Mother’s Day to encourage women to make health a priority in their life. At VCV our focus on implementation of the Affordable Care Act and closing the coverage gap are critical to ensuring that women across Virginia have access to necessary medical care. Below are two examples of how our work is vital to women’s health.

 

The Affordable Care Act

When the ACA passed, Mary Bennett of Charlottesville, VA was eager to sign up for a plan in the Marketplace. A hourly worker for the state, Mary was not covered by her employer and paid $700 a month for a private health insurance plan with a $7,500 deductible. A two time cancer survivor, Mary advocated for health reform and quickly met with a Navigator through Enroll Virginia once the Marketplace opened. With multiple chronic illnesses, Mary knew that she needed a plan that would allow her to see specialists often for an affordable price. She selected a silver plan, which has a higher premium than the least costly plan but offers more coverage. Mary now only pays $350 a month for health insurance with a $2,500 deductible.

Mary is one example of the nearly 385,000 Virginians that have benefited from the ACA. She says that “under the ACA my policy is more affordable so I’m happier and less stressed.”

 

All ACA plans support women’s health by:

  • Not charging women more for plans just because of their gender
  • Including maternity care and newborn care as essential health benefits
  • Covering preventative services like mammograms and pap smears without cost sharing

 

Closing the Coverage Gap

If Virginia legislators decided to accept federal funding to expand our Medicaid program, 112,642 Virginia women of reproductive age¹ could have access to health insurance. Additionally, a recent study by VCU’s Massey Cancer Center found that women in non-expansion states like Virginia “are less likely to receive potentially lifesaving breast and cervical cancer screenings by 7.9 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively.”² Closing the coverage gap would allow thousands of Virginia women to access necessary medical care to stay healthy and prevent chronic disease. To help uninsured Virginia women access health insurance, contact your legislator and encourage them to close the coverage gap today!

 

¹ Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia

² State Medicaid Expansion Decisions and Disparities in Women’s Cancer Screening, Lindsay M. Sabik, PhD, , Wafa W. Tarazi, MHPA, Cathy J. Bradley, PhD