Why Women Need Access to Affordable Health Insurance

By Meredith Ledford on January 15th, 2010

Health Insurance

You know that health insurance coverage is critical to your health. In most cases it ensures that you have access to the health care system, and that you have access to needed medical services.

But if you are a woman, having access to necessary health care services when you need them is even more crucial. As a woman, if you have affordable health insurance, you are more likely to obtain preventive, primary, and specialty care services, and have better access to many of the new advances in women's health.

Significance of Health Insurance for Women

Here are just a few reasons why women need affordable health insurance:

  • Women Have More Complicated Health Conditions: Women have a higher rate of chronic illness than men--nearly 4 in every 10 women have a chronic condition that needs ongoing medical treatment compared to 3 in every 10 men. Women are also at a much greater risk for illnesses such as osteoporosis and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus--all of which require ongoing access to the health care system and medical treatment

  • Women Need Reproductive Health Care Services: Along with health care needs before and during pregnancy, women also need to have regular check-ups of their reproductive organs. The recommendations for when to have these check-ups vary by age, health status, and sexual activity

  • Women Live Longer: Because women have a longer life expectancy than men--on average women live 5 years longer than men--they utilize the health care system and use more health care services than men during their life time

Health Reform May Help Women Acquire Affordable Health Insurance

As a woman, you have much at stake in the current health insurance debate. Escalating health care costs have had a disproportionate effect on women in general because of their lower incomes and greater need for health care services throughout their lifetimes.

These affordability challenges have hit women even harder than men because of discriminatory practices that charge women higher health insurance premiums and rates. Additionally, many insurers don't cover vital services such as maternity care.

Health insurance reform may address many of the barriers women face, including:

  • Access to Coverage: Insurance reforms are being proposed that would eliminate pre-existing condition exclusions, as well as practices that vary premiums based on gender or health status
  • Addressing Affordability: In 2008, one in seven privately insured women postponed or went without needed care because of cost. Policymakers are attempting to enact cost control policies to ensure that women's out-of-pocket expenses are affordable
  • Scope of Coverage: Although the leading proposals do not detail the benefits that may be offered by plans, many clinical preventive services and maternity care, which is not covered by most individual insurance policies, are specified in the proposals. If enacted, these new policies could benefit millions of women across the country

No one should ignore such a critical component of their health, but women especially should get health insurance to ensure that their medical needs are covered and affordable. To get you started, get a free health insurance quote here.

Source :
Women's Health Insurance Coverage • Oct 01, 2009 • • Kaiser Family Foundation http://www.kff.org/womenshealth/upload/6000-08.pdf
Lois McGuire • Update: New Pap Smear Recommendations • Dec 01, 2009 • • Mayo Clinic Safe Sex Blog http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pap-smear/MY00728
Elizabeth Patchias and Judy Waxman • Women and Health Coverage: A Framework for Moving Forward • Apr 01, 2007 • • National Women's Law Center http://www.nwlc.org/pdf/NWLCHealthInsuranceIssueBrief2007.pdf

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