How Michigan Women Have Benefited From the Affordable Care Act

Stethoscope on note book with Women's Health words as medical concept

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By Kaishi Chhabra

March 24, 2022

One in three Michigan women said birth control has been more accessible because of the healthcare law signed 12 years ago this week.


Need to Know

  • Healthy Michigan Plan has 990,061 enrollments as of 2021. 
  • The ACA ended the practice of “gender rating” where insurers used to charge women more than men for the same coverage.
  • Some Republicans still want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which could mean more than 21 million Americans losing insurance.

MICHIGAN—Twelve years ago on Wednesday, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law by then President Barack Obama. It was, as the National Partnership for Women and Families put it, “the greatest advance for women’s health in a generation.”  Not only did this expansive healthcare law lower costs for millions of people, it also allowed tens of millions more with pre-existing conditions to get coverage. 

Thanks to the passage of the American Rescue Plan in 2021, President Joe Biden helped strengthen the ACA’s impact. Over 3 million Michiganders who get insurance through the marketplaces established by the ACA are now seeing reduced healthcare costs. 

Here are some ways Michigan women have been impacted by this life-changing healthcare law: 

  • The ACA covers a number of women’s healthcare services without any out-of-pocket payments for new health plans. This includes mammograms, screening for cervical cancer, prenatal care, well-woman visits, and other vital services. More than one million Michigan women were previously uninsured for this type of preventative coverage. 
  • One in three Michigan women said that after enrolling in Medicaid through the ACA, they could more easily get birth control, according to the Washington Post. From 2010 onward, health plans no longer required pre-authorization or referral for OB-GYN care.
  •  The ACA ended the common practice of “gender rating” among insurers, who historically charged women more than men for the same coverage. This applies to those with individual coverage and to small businesses with up to 100 employees.
  • More low-income women have access to family planning services, as the ACA made it easier for states to expand Medicaid eligibility. Michigan expanded Medicaid in April 2014, and that program is called Healthy Michigan. As of spring 2021, over 990,061 Michiganders have enrolled in the plan, according to MDHHS.  
  • Prior to the ACA, most health plans purchased in the individual market did not cover maternity care. One source found that the average cost of giving birth in Michigan hospitals can top $12,000.

Despite how popular the healthcare law is, some Republicans still want to repeal the Affordable Care Act. That would mean that more than 100 million Americans with pre-existing conditions would lose insurance protections, and 21 million Americans could lose their coverage altogether, while residents with private insurance could see an extreme rise in their premiums.

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