Women feel worse about certain health-care concerns than men do, according to a new Bankrate report.
Out-of-pocket definitely doesn’t mean out of mind — especially for women.
Women feel worse about certain health-care concerns than men do, according to a new survey from Bankrate.com. Forty-seven percent of women who ponied up for a medical bill in the past year said it was more costly than they anticipated, compared to 35% of men. A quarter of women reported that they or a family member in their household had avoided the doctor in the past year because they thought it’d be too expensive, versus 18% of men. And 57% of women are worried they may not have affordable insurance in the future, compared to 51% of men.
“Our study found that women, whether it has to do with health-care affordability in the future (or) health-care costs now, are more concerned than men about their financial security as it relates to health care,” Bankrate.com analyst Taylor Tepper told Moneyish. “That’s because the policies in Washington these days are undercutting the Affordable Care Act and the coverage for pre-existing conditions, which would adversely affect women more than men.”
Indeed, the Justice Department announced in a June legal filing that it wouldn’t defend key provisions of the ACA — including a popular one that bars insurers from charging more or denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions — in an ongoing Texas court battle. And non-elderly women are more likely to have pre-existing conditions than men, according to a 2016 Kaiser Family Foundation report, with 29.4 million women (30%) reporting them versus 22.8 million men (24%).
Women typically also earn less than men, Tepper pointed out, making them more vulnerable to higher costs when it comes to health insurance. Women make an average of 80 cents on a man’s dollar, and many women of color face an additional racial or ethnic wage gap. “Americans overall are financially insecure, thanks to a lack of savings,” Tepper added. (Six in 10 say they don’t even have enough savings to cover a $1,000 emergency, per a previous Bankrate report.)
The survey also found some generational gaps: 67% of younger Baby Boomers aged 54 to 63 were worried they may not have affordable insurance down the line, while 59% of Gen Xers said the same. “I think this is a concern that intensifies as you get older, as you require more health care, and as your family responsibilities mature,” Tepper said.
Older millennials aged 28 to 37, meanwhile, were most likely (49%) to say their most recent medical bill was more expensive than they expected. “It’s sort of their first time interacting with health insurance, in a way,” Tepper said, pointing out young adults can stay on their parents’ plans until age 26 under the ACA.
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