Facebook Rss Twitter Youtube MSN

Women bear the brunt of rising health care costs

May 14, 2009 | | Comments Comments Off

logo_homeA grim survey by the Commonwealth Fund found that seven out of 10 working-age women are uninsured or underinsured, leaving them with medical debt or problems accessing care because of the cost.

And that was before the recession kicked into high gear.

The results are from the Commonwealth’s 2007 survey of 2,616 adults. The survey has an overall margin of sampling error of plus or minus two percentage points. (That basically means the survey is scientifically accurate, for those of you who fell asleep during statistics class.)

Women are far more likely to be affected by rising health care costs than men because women have lower average incomes and higher out-of-pocket costs and are more likely to seek care, the fund reported.

Here are the lowlights:

  • 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 proportion of women earning $40,000 – $60,000 who spent more than 10 percent of their income on out-of-pocket health costs increased from 21 to 41 percent between 2001 and 2007; 17 percent of women with income over $60,000 had high out-of-pocket costs in 2007.
  • About  one-third (34%) of women with incomes of $60,000 or more reported problems getting needed care because of cost, as did  23 percent of men with similar incomes.
  • Six in ten women with moderate incomes (between $20,000 and $40,000) report being unable to pay medical bills, being contacted by a collection agency for unpaid medical bills, changing their way of life to pay medical bills or paying off medical debt over time, as did almost half (46%) of middle-income women. About 50 percent of men with moderate incomes and 32 percent with middle-incomes reported medical bill problems.

For more on health insurance, read:

Related Posts

  • Check your prescriptions for the letters DAW
    DAW means "dispense as written." When a doctor writes a prescription for a brand-name drug, adding "DAW" could prevent you from getting a less expens...
  • Stupid press release of the week
    It sounded like a heck of a story–too bad the facts get in the way. The press release proclaimed that “taxes, not health care, are retirees’ biggest...
  • Thursday’s need-to know-money news
    Avoiding health care scams, improving your credit mix, and navigating the rocky roads of inheritance. How to Avoid Healthcare Fraud Don’t let yours...
  • 3 must-reads for right now
    If you owe more on your mortgage than your home is worth, you have several options. Debt expert Gerri Detweiler walks you through them in this 6-part...

Categories : Liz's Blog