ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
Spot light on Dani Antman New Lionheart teacher
Uncover Why Turmeric Helps You Heal
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Put Your Best Foot Forward Next Year
Almost Half of Adults Will Develop Knee Osteoarthritis by 85
Gene Therapy May Ease Rheumatoid Arthritis
CANCER
More Cancer Tests Mean More False-Positive Results
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
CAREGIVING
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
Caring for Aging Loved Ones Can Be a Catch-22
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
DIABETES
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Compound in Berries May Lessen Sun Damage
Eating Lots Of Vegetables, Olive Oil May Extend Life
Iced Teas Pose High Risk of Kidney Stones
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Fertilizer Ban Makes a Difference
Vest Monitors 'Individual' Air Pollution
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
EYE CARE, VISION
Gene-Transfer Proves Safe for Vision Problem
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
FITNESS
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
Barefoot Best for Running?
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
Soluble Fiber, But Not Bran, Soothes Irritable Bowel
The Yearly Flu Shot Debate
Dr Churchill & Ashley Pelton Interview 1 of 4
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Implanted Defibrillators Boost Long-Term Survival
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Too Many Infants Short on Vitamin D
Safety Should Be Priority for Those Involved in Kids' Sports
MEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
SENIORS
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
How Much Fish to Eat While Pregnant?
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
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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