Photo Credit: Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Dear Fellow Moms,
This Mother’s Day, I want you to know that caring for yourself and your family just got a little easier. The new health care law, the Affordable Care Act, includes many protections that give women and their families the health and economic security they deserve.
As a mother of two grown sons, I know that at the top of your list of concerns are your children. Thanks to the health care law, if your child has asthma or another pre-existing condition, you no longer have to worry about insurance coverage. It’s now illegal for insurers to deny coverage to kids because of a pre-existing condition, so families can focus on making sure their children get well, instead of fighting with insurance companies’ discriminatory practices.
In 2014, it will be illegal for insurance companies to discriminate against anyone with a pre-existing condition. So you won’t have to worry about being turned away because you’re pregnant or a breast cancer survivor. And insurers will also be prohibited from charging women more just because we’re women. In other words, being a woman will no longer be a pre-existing condition.
As a fellow mom, I know that moms often take care of their own health last. We make sure that our kids and spouses get their checkups and flu shots, but don’t always do the same for ourselves. To help women and moms get the care they need, the Affordable Care Act now makes it less expensive for women and their families to get recommended preventive services, including cervical cancer screenings and mammograms, at no additional cost out of our pockets. Benefits for expectant moms include counseling and screening to ensure healthy pregnancies. What’s more, the law provides free preventive screenings and check-ups for seniors with Medicare – also helping our parents live healthier lives.
In addition, the law provides more resources to protect mothers and babies. The new Strong Start initiative will help reduce preterm births and improve health outcomes for newborns and pregnant women. No child should have to struggle with developmental difficulties later in life because their mom was unable to get quality prenatal care.
But it doesn’t stop there—the Affordable Care Act gives moms more peace of mind because it also protects older children. Now, young adults can stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until their 26th birthday. This has allowed more than 2.5 million young adults nationwide to gain coverage. This means our children can make education, career or even medical decisions based on what is best for them, not on whether they are offered or can get health insurance.
I saw how important this can be firsthand with my own sons. When they graduated from college, neither one got a job with health insurance. Fortunately, they were both healthy, and our family had the resources to get them covered. But not every family is so lucky. Now, millions of moms and dads don’t have to worry.
Happy Mothers’ Day -- now you can now breathe a little easier knowing that the health care law is helping you and your family get better access to affordable, high-quality health care.
Mother of two sons, and Secretary of Health and Human Services