Women Delay Heath Care Due to Costs

July 8, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - More than one fourth (27%) of women surveyed and 67% of those who were uninsured either went without or delayed the health care they needed in the past year because they could not afford it, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation press release.

In addition, 17% of women with private health insurance delayed or did not get the care they needed, and 20% of all the women surveyed said they had passed up filling a prescription in the last year due to cost. “The bottom line is as long as health care is a purchasable commodity, women will not be getting the care they need,” said Dr. Eileen Hoffman, a clinical associate professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine in New York City, in a HealthDay News report.

The telephone survey yielded responses from 2,766 women ages 18 and older. A smaller survey of 507 men was also conducted for comparison. Results were also compared to the company’s similar survey in 2001.

The lack of preventive care is concerning since, according to HealthDay News, another recent survey showed women are most afraid of breast cancer and have a growing fear of heart disease. The Kaiser survey showed that 69% of women aged 40-64 reported having a mammogram, compared to 73% in a 2001 survey. Thirty three percent of women said they had talked to a health-care professional in the past three years about smoking, 20% about alcohol use, 43% about calcium intake, and 55% about diet, exercise and nutrition, the news report noted.

In addition, among women ages 18-64, the number who reported having a Pap Test was 76%, compared to 81% in 2001.Of women aged 18-44 only 31% say that they have talked with their doctor about their sexual history, 28% STDs, and 31% HIV/AIDS.

Other key findings in the survey, mentioned in the press release, include:

  • Women (56%) are more likely than men (42%) to use a prescription medicine on a regular basis, and are also more likely to report difficulties affording their medications.
  • One in seven (14%) women also report that they skipped or took smaller doses of their medicines in the past year to make them last longer.
  • Nearly four in 10 women (38%), have a chronic condition, such as diabetes, asthma or hypertension that requires ongoing medical attention, compared to 30% of men.
  • One in four women (23%) reported they have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety, over twice the rate for men (11%).

The press release can be viewed here .