ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Taking the Mystery Out of Hypnotherapy
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Vitamin D Plus Calcium Guards Against Fractures
Too Few Screened for Abdominal Aneurysm, Study Says
Put Your Best Foot Forward Next Year
CANCER
Sharing Cancer Info May Be Empowering
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
CAREGIVING
High Rate of Rehospitalizations Costing Billions
MRSA Infections Spreading to Kids in Community
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
DIABETES
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Oregano Shown to be the Most Powerful Culinary Herb
Eating Vegan or Raw-Vegan at Regular Restaurants
Eat Light - Live Longer
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Improved Fungicides May Be Easier on Environment
Seasons Arriving 2 Days Earlier, Study Says
Agent Orange Exposure Tied to Prostate Cancer Return
EYE CARE, VISION
Vision Test for Young Children Called Unreliable
Brain Pressure More Likely to Cause Vision Loss in Men
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
FITNESS
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Simple Exercise Precautions To Help Keep Baby Boomers Fit
Toxins May Form When Skin, Indoor Ozone Meet
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
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
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
Cherry-Enriched Diet Cut Heart Risks in Rats
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
Protect Your Kids From Swine Flu While at Camp
Scary Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Questionable
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
SENIORS
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
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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