WASHINGTON, May 14 (UPI) -- Beginning in 2014, many U.S. insurers will no longer be allowed to charge women higher premiums simply because of their gender, President Barack Obama said.
Obama, in a proclamation for National Women's Health Week May 13-19, said women often play a leading role in making medical decisions for their families, and their own healthcare needs have too often gone unmet.
"As president, I have made advancing gender equality in health care a top priority. Beginning in 2014, many insurers will no longer be allowed to charge women higher premiums simply because of their gender, and it will be illegal for most insurance companies to deny coverage to women because they have a pre-existing condition, including cancer or pregnancy," Obama said in the statement.
"Health plans will also be required to cover maternity care. The law already enables women in new insurance plans to see any primary care provider or OB-GYN, or bring their children to any pediatrician in their health plan's network without a referral."
Under the Affordable Care Act, out-of-pocket costs for recommended preventive services such as mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, contraception and well-woman visits were eliminated under most plans, Obama said.
In 2011 alone, more than 20 million women received expanded access to these services at no additional cost, Obama added.