The Young Politica: How Obamacare Affects College-Aged Women

You may have heard the word ‘Obamacare’ spinning around the election coverage, but here’s what it’s all about and how it can affect you.

Obamacare (formally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) is a set of newly-passed (2010) healthcare reform mandates that ultimately aim to provide insurance to the uninsured by lowering the overall costs of health care. The planned changes, which have already begun and will last until 2020, include:

  • offering free preventative counseling and birth control to women (unless you work for certain religious institutions or possibly unless you work for a company that does not support birth control, depending upon how the courts interpret the Constitution on this one),
  • guaranteeing that those who apply for insurance with preexisting conditions are not turned away,
  • and an annual penalty to those who do not have insurance by the year 2014.

Many of the changes won’t go into effect until 2014 (or unless Mitt Romney wins the election and repeals Obamacare as he has promised, but some have already gone into action.

Here are some changes Young Politicas should expect to affect them immediately and in the future:

The end of ‘Gender Rating’ (2014)

Insurers currently impose on women with a total of $1 billion more in premiums than men for equal insurance coverage. By 2014, these higher premiums will be illegal.

Preexisting conditions (2014)

Aside from ‘Gender Rating’, which itself is practically considered a preexisting condition in the insurance world, other preexisting conditions—including coverage those who “previously gave birth by Caesarean section; are pregnant at the time they seek coverage; survived domestic violence and received treatment related to abuse; or received medical treatment after sexual assault” will no longer have higher rates or be turned away by insurers.

Preventative care and contraceptives without co-pay (August, 2012)

This newly rolled-out segment of the Obamacare entitles women to preventative care without having to make a co-payment as is necessary with most services. That includes counseling for domestic violence, breast feeding and STD prevention; as well as annual OB-GYN visits and pre-approved contraception.

Unfortunately, not every woman is currently covered for birth control because not all companies that provide private insurance cover contraception. Also, not all contraception is approved to be given without co-pays. Some popular methods, such as the patch (Ortho Evra) and the ring (NuvaRing) remain at their original costs.

Being covered by your parents’ insurance until you’re 26 (September 2010)

This plan, which is already in effect, is great for every college student. Instead of being kicked out of your parents’ private insurance plan just after you graduate from college, you can continue looking for a job or going to school without having to worry about getting sick and being unable to pay.

Paying  a fine of $95 or up to 1% of your income for not having insurance (2014)

Depending on your age and what job you have in 2014, you may have to suffer a large dent in your wallet if you forgo insurance altogether.

So whether you’re no longer forking over $15 for your contraceptives, deciding not to get insurance because of the cost, or you get to stay on your parents’ insurance plan for another five years—Obamacare has or will affect you.

If you’re not quite sure how it will affect you, take the quiz.

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Maegan Vazquez, a Texas born sophomore at New York University, brings her young woman’s lens on all things political to Heartfeldt Blog every Monday. Send news tips to

9 thoughts on “The Young Politica: How Obamacare Affects College-Aged Women

  1. Maegan, it’s really great that you are providing specific information about how the presidential candidates’ policies affect college women like yourself. Tomorrow is national voter registration day, so I hope many of your friends and colleagues read your piece and make sure they are registered to vote.

    We get the political representation we vote for, after all.

  2. If gender rating will soon be prohibited, why did NOW President Terry O’Neill say this?

    Fact: The bill also permits gender-rating, the practice of charging women higher premiums simply because they are women. Some are under the mistaken impression that gender-rating has been prohibited, but that is only true in the individual and small-group markets. Larger group plans (more than 100 employees) sold through the exchanges will be permitted to discriminate against women — having an especially harmful impact in workplaces where women predominate.

    The editorial linked above keeps mentioning the individual health insurance market. Is that because the author did not want to mention this loophole? I doubt Ms. O’Neill made this up, or that she did not do her homework. Her statement lists a number of troubling issues she had with this supposed great boon for women.

  3. I never know, when I see the claim that the ACA outlaws gender-rating, which I have seen all over the place, whether the person making the claim is aware of that exception or is deliberately hiding it. This is no minor detail to be shrugged off as insignificant. Regardless, it makes me angry, because it is a bogus claim, and the Democratic leadership knows it, but wants women to believe it. Just like the claim that the Democratic Party platform is 100% pro-choice. I cannot believe any feminist could call a platform that keeps the Hyde Amendment in full force pro-choice, let alone 100% pro-choice, but apparently the Party has been quite successful in its attempts to manipulate mainstream feminist groups. I will say again, the war on women is bipartisan. That Republicans are worse is no excuse for Democratic treachery. It is ridiculous that women, nearly a century after winning the right to vote, are forced to choose between an avowed enemy and an enemy who pretends to be an ally. That may seem harsh, but does a true ally deliberately manipulate and deceive its friends?

    1. I get what you’re saying. It’s almost like having to pick from the lesser of two evils sometimes. I’ve definitely seen some skewing on the part of the dems in regards Obamacare. Then again, why would the dems want to promote the faults of Obamacare, you know? While it works strategically for the dems, but it doesn’t exactly help the public.
      Even after doing research on the topic, I wasn’t able to find everything I needed (as seen by your comment above). That’s a big problem for both myself and the average uninformed citizen. And while Obamacare may not be the best solution for women, I’m just hoping that it’s opening a door to more changes. How exactly we’ll get to those changes? I don’t know.

  4. A special note: When you see the word “free”, instead read “tax-payer paid for”. If I said “Hey would you do your job for the next year for no pay but you’re gonna help someone you never met or will meet”, you probably wouldn’t do it. But, if I said “Hey would you do your job for the next year but the government will reimburse you and you’ll help someone”, you’ll do it.

    Stop writing “free”, write “paid for the 53% of people in this country that work and pay taxes and feel the need not to cheat on taxes and let politicians waste their money”.

  5. Timetogrowup shows the Republican spin machine in action. Income tax is paid by those who have more income than the standard deduction. Nobody works and pays no taxes. Where I live the sales tax is nearly ten percent. There are taxes on utilities. Add in the other payroll taxes that get taken off the top and the taxes paid by minimum wage workers, depending on how much of their income goes for taxable purchases, are not far behind, as a percentage of income, Mitt Romney.

    Maegan, there are many ideas about how to get there, but nobody could know how it will happen. Obamacare could be opening a door for more changes, but I think it was designed to shut the door on better alternatives. The question for me is, should women rely on the Democratic Party to bring about the changes we need? I have a million reasons to say no (if anyone thinks I am exaggerating, take a peek at my blog), but most women appear to be resigned to that, as if that is the best we can hope for. It is not. The Democratic Party would be dead in the water, a relic of history, without feminist support.

  6. As a nurse practitioner and provider of care for more than 25 years, I have enjoyed looking at your comments however right or wrong they are. Ladies- if you think you will have a physican or NP as more cuts are made into health care and the services professionals provide, you better take off the rose colored glasses. What responsibility are YOU taking for your health? Are you practicing safe sex? Are you at your age and height appropriate weight? Do you smoke? Recreational drug use? Prozac? Zoloft? Paxil? Diabetic or pre-diabetic? When was the last time you took PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for your behavior? Your debts? Your relationships? BTW… the taxes paid on a state level, ie sales tax is NOT the same nor goes it go towards your FREE care. When people talk about paying taxes it is in reference to the IRS- federal taxes that no illgal or undocumented alien pays as well as the rest of the 46% who cannot or do not pay yearly FEDERAL TAX. Should you pay your co-payments – YES IF YOU WANT CARE. You do have a choice… go to a public health clinic for your basic care. Don’t want to take care of yourself? Eat, drink and be merry! And move to another country… Apply for Medicaid before it goes bankrupt or other social programs. Oh, but wait, there aren’t so many doctors or practices (NP’s) that can provide care and pay the cost of keeing their offices running by giving FREE care. This is not political its about YOU being a responsible adult. You are not entitiled to free care, no copays and top flight medical care. If you smoke, are overweight, drink and use recreational drugs you should pay more up front because you will costs the medical community more to keep you alive from your self-inflicted heart disease, lung disease, hypertension and diabetes, liver failure and other fun to treat illnesses. It isn’t about the have and have not’s its about responsibility. Now that’s personal!

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