National Partnership for Women & Families

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Nearly Half of U.S. Women Skip Health Care Services Because of Cost, Survey Finds

Nearly Half of U.S. Women Skip Health Care Services Because of Cost, Survey Finds

May 11, 2011 — About half of women in the U.S. bypassed medical care in 2010 because they could not afford it, according to a report released Wednesday by the Commonwealth Fund, CQ HealthBeat reports.

The group's 2010 Biennial Health Insurance Survey found that the percentage of women who did not fill prescriptions or skipped tests, treatments and follow-up visits because they could not afford it increased from 34% in 2001 to 48% last year. About 33% of women in 2010 spent more than 10% of their income on medical costs, compared with 25% who spent that amount in 2001. An estimated 27 million women ages 19 through 64 were uninsured for all or part of 2010, the report found.

Researchers surveyed a random national sample of 4,005 adults ages 19 and older from July 14, 2010, through Nov. 30, 2010. Forty-six percent of women were up to date on receiving recommended preventive health care services. Uninsured, low- and moderate-income women were the least likely to have received preventive care. Only 31% of uninsured women ages 50 through 64 had had a mammogram in the past two years, compared with 79% of insured women.

Findings Show Need for Health Reform Law

The survey findings underscore the need for the federal health reform law (PL 111-148), Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis and Vice President Sara Collins said. The law "couldn't come at a better time for women whose health and financial security has been increasingly in jeopardy over the past ten years," Davis said. She added, "Moving forward, it will be crucial for the health reform law to be implemented quickly and effectively so the millions of uninsured women and those with poor health insurance in the United States can finally afford the health insurance and health care they need" (Bunis, CQ HealthBeat, 5/11).