January 4-10 is Women’s Week, a part of the second Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment period. Enrollment in health insurance plans in the ACA marketplaces is open from now until February 15, and Planned Parenthood can help you get covered. Learn more, compare plans, and sign up for health insurance at ObamacareEquals.org.

People have called the Affordable Care Act a lot of things — some true, some not. I call it one thing: a game changer for women.

These are the facts: Before the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) became law, millions of women were denied coverage because of so-called “pre-existing conditions” like breast cancer or pregnancy, or were forced to pay more for insurance just because they were women. We faced limits on the amount of coverage we could use in our lifetime, meaning just one serious illness or injury could mean bankruptcy. And many women had to pay out-of-pocket for basic preventive health care, like their cancer screenings, Pap tests, and even birth control — costing them hundreds of dollars a year or more. Because of all this, for too many women, the health care they needed was out of reach.

The Affordable Care Act has changed all that. In fact, it’s the single biggest advancement for women’s health in a generation. Here’s why:

Obamacare equals more money in your pocket.

Under Obamacare, most health insurance plans now cover women’s preventive health care for free, with no copay — including lifesaving breast cancer screenings, immunizations, well-woman exams, and more. That means that more than 48 million women are able to access basic care at no out-of-pocket cost.

Obamacare equals affordable birth control.

Obamacare increases access to birth control. Now, most plans cover the full range of FDA-approved birth control methods without copay — so women can get the birth control they need at no additional expense.

And with 99 percent of sexually active American women having used birth control at some point, that’s not just good health policy — it’s huge economically: In 2013 alone, no-copay birth control saved U.S. women $483 million, or an average of $269 per woman.

Obamacare equals fairness.

Obamacare ends the discriminatory practice of health insurance companies charging women more for health insurance — sometimes up to 150% more.

Obamacare equals fewer barriers to care.

Obamacare gets rid of insurance companies being able to refuse coverage for “pre-existing conditions,” which used to bar millions of people from health insurance for things like cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, or even pregnancy and domestic violence.

Now, you have access to health coverage no matter what.

Obamacare equals peace of mind.

Thanks to Obamacare, young people can stay on their parents’ plans until they turn 26. In fact, over 3 million young adults up to age 26 gained coverage on their parents’ plan thanks to the ACA.

That’s good news for kids AND parents.

Obamacare equals one less stress.

And under the health care law, millions of women will be eligible for financial help to make health insurance coverage through the marketplaces even more affordable. Eighty-seven percent of this year’s enrollees received financial assistance when they signed up.

The bottom line? Obamacare is leveling the playing field for women and their access to health care coverage. That’s why Planned Parenthood, organizers nationwide, and I are working hard to make sure everyone knows about the ACA’s benefits for women — and to help them get covered.

Because whatever you want to call it, Obamacare equals millions of women having access to the health care they need, saving money, and staying healthier. That’s a game changer.

See more #ObamacareEquals stories on Twitter.

Tags: Obamacare, Health Care, Affordable Care Act

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