ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Uncover Why Turmeric Helps You Heal
Health Tip: Anticipating Acupuncture
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Genes May Help Drive Rotator Cuff Injury
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
A Little Drink May Be Good for Your Bones
CANCER
Many Ignore Symptoms of Bladder Trouble
Method for Treating Cervical Lesions May Pose Pregnancy Risks
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Child's Food Allergies Take Toll on Family Plans
3 Steps Might Help Stop MRSA's Spread
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
DIABETES
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
DIET, NUTRITION
Mediterranean Diet May Help Prevent Depression
Breakfast Eggs Keep Folks on Diet
Olive Oil May Be Key to Mediterranean Diet's Benefits
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Skin Woes Take Toll on U.S. Combat Troops
Clear Skies Have Become Less So Over Time, Data Show
Greener Neighborhoods Mean Slimmer Children
EYE CARE, VISION
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
Vision Test for Young Children Called Unreliable
FITNESS
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Can You Talk Your Way to Happy?
More Single Women Are Having Babies
Week of Historic Senate Hearings on Integrative Medicine May Open New Doors
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
Arteries Age Twice as Fast in Smokers
Small Cuts in Salt Intake Spur Big Drops in Heart Trouble
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Help Your Kids Stay Active
MEN'S HEALTH
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
MENTAL HEALTH
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
SENIORS
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
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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