Recent headlines are claiming that when the Marketplaces (also known as “exchanges”) begin operating this January, the costs of insurance premiums will rise exponentially. Estimates have been anywhere from 25-40%, but in actuality it is quite probable that the effects of the ACA on the overall cost of health care (especially for women) will be positive.
Ill health, while it can be predicted according to behavior, can hit us at any time. While a fraction of younger, healthier women may end up paying more than usual for their insurance, it is more likely that all women will see savings in the long run because costs won’t be exorbitant later in life, preventative services are available with no out-of-pocket costs, and gender rating is prohibited. According to American Progress, “comparing the price of coverage before and after health care reform is just as unreasonable as comparing the price of Fred Flintstone’s self-powered Stone Age automobile to a modern-day hybrid vehicle—the former only functions as long as you are healthy and capable of running everywhere you need to go, but the minute you break an ankle or become ill, you may as well have never had a car in the first place.”
We know that women tend to make up the majority of lower-income populations in Wisconsin (60% of individuals living in poverty are women) and generally have more health needs and higher costs than their male counterparts. However, as the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, women should see the overall cost of health care become more affordable over their lifespan.