Health reform will greatly benefit women, Commonwealth Fund report says

Increased pregnancy care coverage and bans on policy cancellations for extraordinarily sick patients are two primary reasons why analysts from the Commonwealth Fund believe women will be one of the groups that most benefits from the passing of the healthcare reform law in March, a new report concludes. Women, the analysis points out, rely more heavily on access to health coverage than men, but often have a harder time with things like the higher cost of medical bills, according to the Washington Post

Roughly 17 million women between the ages of 19 and 64 went without coverage in 2008. Under the new law, the report says, practically all of those women--at least the ones considered legal U.S. residents--will have gained coverage. 

"An estimated 7.3 million women, or 38 percent, who tried to buy health insurance in the individual market over a recent three-year period were turned down, charged a higher premium or had their condition excluded from their health plan because of a preexisting health condition," the report reads. "Thirty-eight states also allow insurance carriers to price policies for small businesses on the basis of gender ... which means that companies that have predominantly female workforces may be charged higher premiums than male-dominated companies." 

Improved breast cancer coverage also will be a big win for women. Increased screening--especially for younger patients--as well as raised awareness will be key measures instituted over the course of the next year. 

The Commonwealth Fund has consistently supported the health reform legislation, the Post article says, and is trying to show why the new law will be important to various groups in the wake of conservative challenges. 

To learn more:
- here's the Commonwealth Fund's analysis
- read the Washington Post article

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