On June 28, the Supreme Court upheld almost all of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This decision means that tens of millions of Americans who are currently uninsured will have access to comprehensive health insurance coverage, either through Medicaid or private insurance.
Here at the FPA, we’re thrilled with the Supreme Court decision because the ACA includes several provisions that are critical to the reproductive health of Maine women, teens, and young adults. These include:
- Requirements that private plans cover — with no out-of-pocket costs — a range of preventive reproductive health services including birth control, Pap tests, STD screening and counseling, prenatal care, and the HPV vaccine. Complete birth control coverage means that women and teen girls can opt for more effective birth control, such as long-acting-reversible methods.
- A requirement that insurance plans allow individuals to remain on their parents’ policy through age 26.
- Prohibitions on gender rating, a practice in which women are charged higher premiums than men for the same exact coverage. This is already prohibited in Maine, but it’s nice to see a national ban on the practice. In some states, according to the National Women’s Law Center, “a 25-year-old woman may be charged up to 84% more than a 25-year-old man for identical coverage in the individual market.”
- Prohibitions on excluding coverage for preexisting medical conditions.
This ruling is a tremendous victory for women and families who struggle to get their health care needs met.
While the birth control coverage provision of the ACA goes into effect this summer, several lawsuits have been filed challenging this requirement. And we’re quite sure the ACA itself will be under attack, throughout the campaign season, until election day in November. Who we elect into office at both the state and national levels will have a significant impact the reproductive health of Maine’s women, young adults, and teens.
If you’re registered to vote, we urge you to pay attention to what the candidates say about the ACA and reproductive health care for all Mainers. If you’re not registered, you can download a voter registration card here.
The Supreme Court’s ACA decision is really good news but it’s not the last word on the topic. There are sure to be more setbacks on the road to reproductive health care coverage. We urge you to stay informed and remember that you have an important voice in the decisions being made in both Washington, D.C. and Augusta. Vote!