Austin Peay State University, USA
Title: Women and the Healthcare Law
Biography: Shondell Hickson
Health care is shaped by and intertwined with many aspects of women’s lives. Women have unique healthcare needs and issues that categorizes them as a priority population. The failures of our current health care system greatly affect women, especially women of color. Women constitute more than 52 percent of the U.S. population, and are the major consumers of health services, as well as the traditional caretakers of their families’ health. Women have greater annual health care expenses than men ($2,453 vs. $2,316) and pay a greater proportion of their health care expenses out-of-pocket (19% compared to 16%). Women make 58% more visits each year to primary care physicians, and are more likely than men to take at least one prescription drug on a daily basis. The passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 heralded a new era in health care coverage, with major implications for women’s health and access to care. Provisions such as the mandatory inclusion of maternity care, coverage without cost sharing for preventive services such as contraceptives, and a prohibition on charging women more than men for the same plan were all designed to address gaps and inequities in women’s health insurance. Women face unfair and discriminatory insurance practices, such as being denied coverage or paying more for health insurance than men. At the same time, individual market health plans often exclude coverage for services that only women need like maternity care.