Health Insurance for Women: How to Pick the Best Plan

Under the Affordable Care Act, certain important preventative measures are covered without a copayment. But there are still several things women need to consider when it comes to buying health insurance.

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For some women, having health insurance could be a matter of life or death. "An infant is six times more likely to die in infancy if the mother didn't get prenatal care and a woman is two to three times more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth without prenatal care," says Terry O'Neill, president of the National Organization for Women. "Obamacare is going to be lifesaving for many, many women."

Mental health coverage may be available. "When choosing a plan, women should consider mental health coverage for their emotional well-being," said Fleischer. "Coverage for things like marriage counseling and managing depression or anxiety could vary significantly."

If you're a parent, you need to consider coverage for your children. Children in low-income families may be eligible for Medicaid or the Children Health Insurance Program. Eligibility varies by state, but four-person families with incomes of less than $45,000 will qualify, though some states also cover families earning slightly more. Children with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage and adult children ages 19 to 26 will be able to remain on their parents' plans.

Under the ACA, most plans will offer 26 preventative services for children at no additional cost, including immunizations, behavioral assessments, and certain screenings (a full list is here). Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, insurance policies must also cover children's vision and dental services without cost-sharing.

You can't be turned down if you have a preexisting condition. Even if it's something as serious as breast cancer, you will still be able to buy insurance in the state-run marketplaces – regardless of whether you've been turned down by an insurer in the past.

"When your cell phone contract ends, you spend hours and hours researching other plans," says Nicole Duritz, vice president for health education and outreach at AARP. "We encourage people to invest the same time and energy in their health care."

More Health Insurance News:

  • Why Do You Need Health Insurance?
  • Should I Pay the Obamacare Tax Penalty?
  • How to Find the Best Insurance Plan for You

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