ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Autumn Sees More Women With Bunion Problems
In Elderly Women, Hip Fractures Often Follow Arm Breaks
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
CANCER
Sharing Cancer Info May Be Empowering
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
CAREGIVING
High Rate of Rehospitalizations Costing Billions
When the Caregiver Becomes the Patient
With Alzheimer's, Health-Care Costs Could Triple
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
DIABETES
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Iced Teas Pose High Risk of Kidney Stones
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Rainy Areas in U.S. Show Higher Autism Rates
Controversial Chemical Lingers Longer in the Body
U.S. Diet Needs Heart-Felt Overhaul
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
FITNESS
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
Go To Work But Skip The Car
Be Healthy, Spend Less
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
Go To Work But Skip The Car
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Heart Disease
Whole Grains Lower Risk of Heart Failure
Arteries Age Twice as Fast in Smokers
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Quick Orthopedic Repair Can Save Young Shoulders
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
MEN'S HEALTH
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
MENTAL HEALTH
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
SENIORS
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
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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