Women and Health Reform

Ensuring the Health Care Needs of Women: Resources for Health Exchanges


About This Project

The Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender Biology, the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health, and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation are pleased to bring you resources from various health policy organizations designed to assist in the implementation of State Health Insurance Exchanges of the Affordable Care Act.

A major feature of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), is the establishment of health insurance exchanges (“Exchanges”) in every state, operated in whole by the state, as a partnership between the state and federal government, or as a fully federally-facilitated exchange (FFE) effective 2014.   

As Exchanges are established, attention to the major issues that affect women’s coverage, affordability and access to quality health care, as well as the distinct challenges facing women from different racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds are key.  In all aspects of planning, it is important for states to consider these differential impacts and make sure their strategies will meet the needs of women.

The following checklist presents crucial questions to consider as states work to design, establish, and implement Exchanges, drawing from national policy research and lessons learned from Massachusetts.  

Some states will work in partnership with the federal government to operate their Exchanges and some will choose a fully federally facilitated exchange, but they will not have the flexibility or autonomy that states operating their own exchanges will experience. In all cases, it will be important for policymakers at all levels to understand the issues impacting women’s health to best meet the needs of women and their families.


We would like to thank the following organizations for their invaluable vision and input in preparing this document:  

  • Center for American Progress
  • Families USA
  • Guttmacher Institute
  • National Partnership for Women and Families
  • National Women’s Health Network
  • National Women’s Law Center
  • Planned Parenthood Federation of America
  • National Academy for State Health Policy
  • Raising Women’s Voices
  • RAND Corporation
  • Urban Institute

Special thanks to Andrea Camp, Senior Consultant to Communications Consortium Media Center for her vital assistance in developing this document.