The Appalling Cost of Women's Health Care Under the American Health Care Act

Image: AP

The details are far from final, but no matter which way you slice it, at this point it seems clear that if the American Health Care Act passes, millions of Americans will see good health care become far less accessible.

Add to the list: women. After the bill passed in the House earlier this month, it’s now up to the Senate to pass it as is, retool it, or scrap it altogether. But according to a new report from the healthcare marketplace Amino, it could mean big increases in women’s health care costs. Under the Obama’s Affordable Care Act, insurers were obligated to completely cover the cost of preventive care, like recommended cancer screenings. But the new bill allows states to opt out of that requirement, a change that stands to disproportionately impact women.

Image: Amino

By looking at data from its own database of more than 9 billion health insurance claims, Amino determined how much basic health services, like birth control and routine cancer screenings, could cost women if that burden was shifted from insurers to patients.

Here are some of the findings:

  • IUD: $1,000. An option for long-lasting birth control, intrauterine devices need to be replaced every three to 10 years.
  • Mammogram: $250. Women over age 50 are recommended to get a mammogram every other year.
  • Tubal ligation: $4,000. Some 25% of women go this route when they’ve decided to stop having children.
  • Pap smear: $200. Women between ages 21 and 65 are also recommended to get a Pap smear to screen for cervical cancer every three years.
  • One dose of HPV vaccine: $300. The HPV vaccine protects against cervical cancer and requires two or three doses.

Amino’s numbers are based on a median estimate across networks in Amino’s database. Costs could vary significantly depending on factors like location. The same IUD, for example, might run you $854 in D.C. but $1,142 in Wisconsin.

Image: Amino

Of course, even if the AHCA passes as is, individual states could decide to keep the provision that makes essential services like cancer screenings free. Insurers could also decide to cover part of the costs, rather than making patients pay out of pocket entirely. Either way, though, its likely that some of these costs will wind up being passed on to patients—especially if those patients are women.

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