ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Quit Smoking the Holistic Way
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
For All Their Plusses, Pets Pose a Risk for Falls, Too
Almost Half of Adults Will Develop Knee Osteoarthritis by 85
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
CANCER
Yoga Eases Sleep Problems Among Cancer Survivors
Seaweed May Help Treat Lymphoma
Get to Know the Pap Test
CAREGIVING
Critically Ill Patients Lack Vitamin D
Older Caregivers Prone to Worse Sleep Patterns
Many Alzheimer's Caregivers Admit to Abusive Behavior
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
Is Your Refrigerator Getting Enough Attention For Your Raw Food Success?
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Showerheads Harbor a Bounty of Germs
Lead Exposure in Childhood Linked to Criminal Behavior Later
EYE CARE, VISION
It's a Whole New Outlook for Cataract Patients
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
Time Teaches Brain to Recognize Objects
FITNESS
When It Comes to Lifting, the Pros Have Your Back
Football Can Shrink Players
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Eating More Soy May Be Good For Your Lung Function
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Heart Disease
Psychiatric Drugs Might Raise Cardiac Death Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
St. John's Wort Doesn't Work for ADHD
Eating Fish, Breast-Feeding Boost Infant Development
Scary Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Questionable
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
MENTAL HEALTH
Drink Away Dementia?
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
High-Impact Activity May Be Good for Old Bones
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
As You Age, Better Health Means Better Sex
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
Add your Article

Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- Even before the slowdown in the economy began, women were more likely than men to have trouble meeting rising health-care costs to get the care they need.

So finds a report released Monday by the nonprofit research foundation The Commonwealth Fund.

More than half of women surveyed said they had problems getting care because of cost issues, including skipping a needed medical test, prescription medication or other treatment.

"What it shows is that getting and paying for health care is an even bigger problem for women than for men,'' said report co-author Michelle Doty, director of survey research for the organization.

The study is based on data from The Commonwealth Fund's 2007 Biennial Health Insurance Survey, which polled more than 3,500 adults aged 19 and older in the United States. The latest findings focus on 2,616 adults, aged 19 to 64.

The survey found that seven out of every 10 working-age American women (64 million women) either had no health insurance, insufficient health care coverage, trouble paying medical bills or a lack of access to needed health care due to cost.

Overall, 52 percent of working-age women surveyed said they had problems accessing needed health care due to costs, compared to 39 percent of men. For example, prohibitive costs meant that women often did not fill a prescription, did not see a specialist when recommended, skipped a test or treatment or follow-up visit that was recommended, or did not see a doctor or other health-care professional even though they had a medical problem.

Medical bills tend to plague women longer than they do men, as well. "Women are more likely than men to be paying off health care bills over time," Doty said. "Forty-five percent of women had problems with medical bills, compared to 36 percent of men."

"Most surprising is, all these problems are so pervasive across all income levels," Doty said. For instance, she said, 34 percent of women with a family income of $60,000 or more did not get the care they needed.

Women also reported that they are less likely than men to get employer-provided health-care coverage, Doty said, sometimes because they work part time.

Health-care costs impact women to a greater degree than men, in general, the study authors said, because women have lower average incomes and higher out-of-pocket health costs than men. They also use the health-care system more often.

Other experts in women's health care said the report rings true with their own research.

"The findings in the issue brief underscore the persistent problems with adequate access and coverage to health-care services that women experience," said Roberta Wyn, associate director of the University of California Los Angeles Center for Health Policy Research.

"The percent of women with inadequate health coverage, experiencing problems with medical bills or debt, and forgoing needed care is staggering and these data were collected in 2007, before the recession hit," Wyn noted. She said the findings underscore the urgency to expand health-care coverage and access, a move that was seconded by the study authors.

The findings "echo a long line of research showing that women face a great burden from medical bills due to both their greater health-care needs and higher out-of-pocket costs," said Chloe Bird, senior sociologist at the Rand Corp. and author of Gender and Health: The Effects of Constrained Choice and Social Policies.

The problem with access to health insurance for women has been worsening since 1980, Bird said, citing other research.

The findings offer a clear message to younger women, Bird said: If you do manage to acquire health-care coverage, take advantage of it and "recognize the importance of investing in your health."

More information

To learn more about health insurance, visit the Commonwealth Fund .



SOURCES: Michelle M. Doty, director, survey research, The Commonwealth Fund, Washington, D.C.; Chloe E. Bird, Ph.D., senior sociologist, Rand Corp., Santa Monica, Calif.; Roberta Wyn, Ph.D., associate director, University of California, Los Angeles, Center for Health Policy Research; May 11, 2009, Women at Risk: Why Many Women Are Forgoing Needed Health Care

Last Updated: May 11, 2009

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