Roadblocks to Health Care
– Women’s reproductive health requires more regular contact with health care providers, including yearly pap smears, mammograms, and obstetric care.
– Women are also more likely to report fair or poor health than men (9.5% versus 9.0%).
– Women are twice as likely to suffer from headaches and are more likely to experience joint, back or neck pain. These chronic conditions often require regular and frequent treatment and follow-up care.
A Patchy System of Health Insurance
– Twenty-one million women and girls went without health insurance in 2007, and another 14 million relied on coverage through the individual insurance market.
– Women are less likely to be employed full-time than men (52% versus 73%), making them less likely to be eligible for employer-based health benefits themselves.
The Failure of the Individual Insurance Market
– Important state and federal laws that protect individuals with employer-sponsored insurance do not apply to health insurance sold in the individual market.
– Data from e-health insurance show that there is a wide variation in premiums by state, by plan, and by age and gender of the policyholder.
– In particular, women are often charged higher premiums than men during their reproductive years. Holding other factors constant, a 22 year old woman can be charged one and a half times the premium of a 22 year old man.
The Price of Access
– In a recent national survey, more than half of women (52%) reported delaying or avoiding needed care because of cost, compared with 39% of men.
– Women face a higher financial burden from medical care than men. Nearly one-third of women aged 50 to 64 are in households that have spent more than 10% of their income on health care, compared with one quarter of men of similar age.