Five years ago, Congress enacted the single biggest advance for women’s health in generations: the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In those five years, the ACA has brought affordable health care to about 25.5 million Americans.
Pretty great, right? But it didn't happen by magic. It happened thanks to tireless champions in Congress and people across the country who spoke out to ensure that women weren’t left behind. We can thank Planned Parenthood supporters who made Obamacare work! Here’s what that support looked like:
- Talking to over 2.4 million people about enrolling (including knocking on doors, phone calls, and tabling at events)
- Helping nearly 230,000 people start the enrollment process
- Hosting 3,130 community education events at health fairs, schools, libraries and more across 38 states
Planned Parenthood supporters helped save Obamacare by contacting Congress more than 1 million times —this means that Congress’ 56 votes to repeal and/or weaken Obamacare failed.
What Enrollment Looks Like
All that outreach was driven by the indomitable energy of Planned Parenthood staff and volunteers. See it for yourself:
2014 Planned Parenthood ACA Enrollment Efforts in California
2015 Planned Parenthood ACA Outreach Events in Texas
Why This Matters
Now, more women than ever have access to affordable health coverage. That’s because:
- Most health insurance plans must cover preventive care — including birth control — without a copay.
- The ACA also stops insurance abuses, such as denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions.
- Women can no longer be charged more for health insurance premiums and people cannot be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, such as cancer, high blood pressure, or diabetes.
- An estimated 48.5 million women now have access to no-copay preventive care, including lifesaving breast and cervical cancer screenings and birth control — which directly impacts their economic stability.
- In 2013 alone the birth control benefit saved women $483 million, or an average of $269 per woman.
- Millions of people have been able to receive federal subsidies under Obamacare to save money on the costs of health coverage — and make sure quality coverage is affordable.
What does all that mean? Women are able to take better care of their own health and economic well-being.
But don’t take it from us. Here are just two of nearly 2,000 stories about how Obamacare works (many of which are featured on ObamacareWorks.org):
Before, I was unable to change insurance plans because I would be denied coverage on pre-existing ovarian cysts. I couldn't even change to a different plan with the same provider without being denied coverage. The Affordable Care Act gave me back the freedom to choose the right plan for me and my budget!—Robin A., Illinois
I can get coverage for my entire family (including myself) for about $100/month LESS than what we currently pay to cover just my husband and child...and the insurance policy will be about the same or better than the policy provided through my employer! Knowing I can get affordable insurance without worrying about pre-existing conditions has given me the confidence I need to consider opening a consulting business to allow me to spend more time with my young daughter and to care for my aging parents and in-laws. Quite literally having access to Obamacare is making it possible for me to even dream of the work-related flexibility I need to raise my daughter the way I've always wanted to, and to ensure my extended family has the support they need in their twilight years!—Melissa M., California
Read more stories of folks who have benefitted from the ACA at ObamacareWorks.org
What Now? Speak Out!
The takeaway: Obamacare is pretty darn helpful. But it’s not perfect. For instance, certain “qualifying life events,” allow you to sign up outside of the normal open enrollment period. But these don’t include one very big life event: pregnancy. If that gets you fired up, learn how to help pregnant women get the care they need.
But that’s not the only way to take action. If you want to protect birth control with no copays… If you want to make sure women don't get charged more than men for insurance... And if you want to keep making progress — then you need to sign up and speak out!
- Sign up for Planned Parenthood e-mail alerts to learn how to make your voice heard.
- Share your health care story on ObamacareWorks.org.
- And, in the meantime, share this blog.