Menendez Joins Women Senators In Touting Benefits Of Health Insurance Reform For Women

Menendez Joins Women Senators In Touting Benefits Of Health Insurance Reform For Women

Emphasis on preventative care, ending gender discrimination in pre-existing condition denials expected to help women

Washington - This morning, a group of women Senators took to the floor of the U.S. Senate to tout the benefits robust health insurance reform will have for women. Following their remarks, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who has been a champion for health care issues that are specific to women, released the following statement:

"My colleagues made a strong, unified statement this morning, which underscores the need to bring real reform to the system. An effective health insurance system removes the obstacles that can prevent women from accessing the type of unique care they need for the unique aspects of their health. That's the type of system this reform will build.

"When we reform the health insurance system, we will do away with gender discrimination in insurance coverage and will put an emphasis on preventive care, which is so important for routine mammograms and maternity care. With more than half of women not eligible for employer-sponsored insurance, they will receive more insurance security through the new insurance exchange. I am working hard to get my amendment to guarantee insurance coverage for pregnancies included in the final bill. And I have gained inclusion of a provision focused on giving women access to a 'medical home' attuned to their specific needs.

"Women deserve greater protections than they have today in many areas - not the least of which is healthcare. We owe this much to our mothers and our daughters."

Menendez has an amendment that would prevent basic health insurance plans from denying benefits for pregnancies, which he is working to have included in the final bill. He was able to include in the Finance Committee bill a provision to examine a program that would gives women access to a "medical home" - for instance a physician or federally-qualified health center - who can manage their total health care and focus on their unique health care needs.

How Health Insurance Reform Will Help Women
(prepared by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee)

Lowering Costs for American Families

• Preventive Care for Better Health
o One in five women over the age of 50 nationwide has not received a mammogram in the past two years. Maternity benefits are often not provided in health plans in the individual insurance market. By ensuring coverage of prevention and basic health services, including maternity benefits, reform will create a system that provides health care and not just sick care.

• Insurance Industry Reforms that Save You Money
o Senate health insurance reform will place a cap on what insurance companies can force you to pay in out of pocket expenses, co-pays and deductibles. Over half of women report delaying needed care because of cost and one-third of women were forced to make a difficult tradeoff such as giving up basic necessities in order to get health care.

Protecting Choices for American Families

• One-Stop Shopping - Putting Families in Charge
o Women are often the decision-makers when it comes to health care for their families. Health reform will create a health insurance exchange so you can easily compare prices, benefits and performance of health plans and decide which quality affordable option is right for you and your family. With health insurance reform, you will have increased choices and increased competition that holds private insurers accountable. It's your choice.

• Insurance Security
o Less than half of women have the option of obtaining health insurance through a job. By creating a health insurance exchange, health reform will guarantee that you will always have choices of quality, affordable health insurance if you lose your job, switch jobs, move or get sick.

• Strengthening the Employer System of Health Care
o Sixty million women currently have health insurance through an employer. Health reform will build upon the strong foundation of employer-based health insurance: if you like what you have, you can keep it.

Assuring Stable, Secure Health Care for Women and American Families

Ending Discrimination for Gender or Pre-Existing Conditions
o Right now, a healthy 22 year old woman can be charged premiums 150% higher than a 22 year old man. Health reform will end discrimination that charges you more because of your gender and it prevents any insurance company from denying coverage based on a person's medical history.

Quality Care for American Childreno Health reform will require every insurance company to provide quality coverage for America's kids. By ensuring coverage for dental and eye care, American families will have increased peace of mindand our children will be healthier.