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7 of 10 women are uninsured or underinsured, or have medical bill, debt, access problems
Date:5/10/2009

by exposure to health care costs," said Michelle Doty, Director of Survey Research at the Commonwealth Fund.

The study found:

  • 52 percent of women had any one of four problems getting needed health care because of cost compared to 39 percent of men: did not fill a prescription; did not see a specialist when needed; skipped a recommended medical test, treatment, or follow-up; or had a medial problem but did not visit a doctor or clinic.
  • 45 percent of women accrued medical debt or reported problems with medical bills in 2007, compared to 36 percent of men.
  • Women were also more likely to skip tests and screenings: almost half of women (45%) delayed or did not receive a cancer screening or dental care because of costs, compared to 36 percent of men.

The authors note that while the majority of Americans receive health insurance through their employers, many employers, particularly small employers, are sharing more of their costs with their employees, or eliminating coverage altogether. The severe downturn in the economy has undoubtedly accelerated this trend and left millions of people unemployed and without health benefits.

Women Across the Income Distribution Are Increasingly Exposed to Rising Health Care Costs

The share of women spending high proportions of their incomes on health care costs and premiums has risen significantly. In 2007, more than one-third of women spent 10 percent of more of their income on out-of-pocket costs and premiums, up from one-quarter in 2001. Women with low incomes were most affected with more than half (55%) of those with incomes under $20,000 spending 10 percent or more of their income on health care, compared to 29 percent in 2001. However, women with higher incomes are also spending more of their income on health care costs and reporting problems with medical bills and getting needed care:

  • The proportion of women earning $40,000 - $60,00
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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

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