April 19, 2007: Increasing costs of
health care are affecting women harder than men, a
study report released in the United States on
April 19, 2007, has revealed. Women will be
especially hit as companies shift more costs to
The study, sponsored by the Commonwealth Fund,
shows that women are more likely to avoid needed
health care than men and are more likely to end up
in debt over health care bills.
According to Judith Waxman of the National Women's
Law Center, who worked on the study, “whether
women are insured or uninsured, they have so many
out-of-pocket costs that they are more likely to
avoid health care.”
The study found that about 45 million citizens of
the United States do not have health insurance,
which presents a major barrier to health care.
Another 16 million Americans are considered
‘underinsured’ and must pay a large chunk of
health costs out-of-pocket.
Though both men and women are at similar risk for
being uninsured, women – whether they are insured
or not – are more likely to struggle paying for
health care. Women are more likely to incur debt
on account of medical costs, according to Judith
The authors of the study say that these
disparities should figure prominently as
politicians prepare proposals to address the high
numbers of uninsured and rising health costs.
The report on the study by the Commonwealth Fund
drew its conclusions from three major surveys of
household economic data representing a broad range
of adults in the United States. The major findings
of the study are:
* 33% of insured women and 68% of uninsured women
do not get the care they need because they cannot
* In contrast, 23% of insured men and 49% of
uninsured men avoid health care because of cost.
* 16% of women are considered underinsured, while
only 9% of men are considered underinsured.
* 38% of women struggle with medical bills
compared with 29% of men.
* Women have less access to employer-sponsored
insurance because they are more likely than men to
work part-time. And, women’s access to that
insurance is less stable because they are more
than twice as likely as men to get
employer-sponsored insurance through their spouse.
* Women are more likely than men to take
The authors of the report say that the study
stresses the need for comprehensive health care
coverage that does not require high out-of-pocket
BY OUR PHARMA CORRESPONDENT