By AMAL ABBASS, IndyKids Volunteer

Under the Affordable Care Act, insurers will also cover two dentist visits and one eye-doctor visit per year for children under 19. PHOTO: The Children's Alliance
Under the Affordable Care Act, insurers will also cover two dentist visits and one eye-doctor visit per year for children under 19. PHOTO: The Children’s Alliance

The New Year brought in an important moment for President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has reshaped the healthcare system. Many of the changes, some of which directly affect American children, began on January 1, 2014.

One of the ACA’s goals is to cover the 45 million Americans without insurance. The act also seeks to expand the benefits insured people receive. To improve the quality of health insurance, the ACA requires insurance companies to cover certain services, including maternity, newborn and pediatric care.

Maternity care treats pregnant women, and pediatrics is the branch of medicine that keeps children healthy. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, before the ACA, over 60 percent of Americans did not have maternity coverage, even people with insurance. Under the ACA, visits to the doctor are covered for all pregnant women. Insurers will also cover two dentist visits and one eye-doctor visit per year for children under 19.

Some argue that the ACA unfairly forces people who do not have children to pay for more expensive insurance policies that cover maternity and pediatric care. In a New York Times article, Genevieve Kenney, co-director of the Health Policy Center at the Urban Institute, responded to those concerns by emphasizing that women from underserved communities will greatly benefit from the new coverage: “Women of lower income and education whose jobs don’t provide health care will have more consistent care on an ongoing basis.”