Missouri News Service

Mona Shand

ST. LOUIS – After a slow start because of website issues, new data from the federal government show enrollment in health care plans through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces is taking off, particularly when it comes to young women.

Laura Burbank, lead-certified application counselor and organizer for Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, says more insured, young, women today will mean a healthier Missouri in the future.

“Women and families are going to have a lot more options to take care of themselves and their families, and that’s going to really have long-term health impacts on our community,” she explains.

According to the federal data, nearly 55,000 Missourians already have signed up for a marketplace plan.

Nationwide, 55 percent of the 3.3 million new enrollees are women, with one in three of those who signed up in January younger than age 35.

Burbank says she’s not surprised to see so many young women taking advantage of the Affordable Care Act, because she says essential features such as preventive care, maternity services and prescription birth control with no co-pay give today’s women the kind of control they want.

“Having them included at no cost really kind of frees women up to be able to make those health care choices for themselves,” she points out.

Open enrollment for plans offered through the Affordable Care Act runs through March 31.

Planned Parenthood is one of many organizations offering enrollment assistance with certified application counselors.