2Center or American Progress | Facts About the Health Insurance Compensation Gap
Q: Where do women turn when they don’t have access to job-based coverage?
A: When working women cannot obtain employer-based coverage and earn too muchto qualiy or Medicaid, they must turn to the individual health insurance market. Yet women ofen ace discrimination in the individual market—they are charged more orcoverage,
denied coverage or gender-specic conditions,
and sold plans that inad-equately cover their health needs.
Q: How much more do women spend out of pocket on health care?
A: Even with employer-based coverage, women have higher out-o-pocket medicalcosts than men. Overall, women o reproductive age spend 68 percent more out o pocket than men on health care,
in part because their reproductive health care needsrequire more requent health care visits and are not always adequately covered by theirinsurance. Among women insured by employer-based plans, oral contraceptives aloneaccount or one-third o their total out-o-pocket health care spending.
Q: How are women affected by the compensation gap?
A: Te combination o being paid less than their male counterparts and having higherout-o-pocket medical expenses leaves many women struggling to pay their medical billsor trading o other necessities such as ood, heat, and electricity to cover their medicalcosts. Fify-two percent o women report delaying or going without needed care becauseo cost (not lling prescriptions or skipping tests, treatments, or ollow-up visits), com-pared with 39 percent o men.
Women also report higher rates o medical debt thantheir male counterparts.
And one study showed that more than hal o low-income women are underinsured, meaning they spend 10 percent or more o their income onout-o-pocket health care costs and premiums.
Q: How will the Affordable Care Act help reduce the health insurance compensation gap?
A: Te Aordable Care Act institutes a series o reorms designed to drastically expandcoverage and contain health insurance costs or all Americans. Many o the reormsenacted by the new health law have been and will continue to be especially benecial or women, as they help resolve many o the problems outlined above. Te health care bill:
Provides insurance premium assistance through income-based tax credits on a slidingscale beginning in 2014
Expands Medicaid eligibility to people with incomes below 138 percent o the ederalpoverty level—about $31,809 or a amily o our in 2011
Allows young people to remain on their parents’ health plans until the age o 26
Ends discrimination that has lef women paying up to 150 percent more or the samecoverage purely because o their gender
Bans insurance companies rom denying coverage to women through pre-existingcondition exclusions