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New Survey Documents Women’s Health Care, Coverage and Early Experiences with the Affordable Care Act

June 4, 2014

New Survey Documents Women’s Health Care, Coverage and Early Experiences with the Affordable Care Act
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

A comprehensive survey released today by the Kaiser Family Foundation provides a snapshot of women and their health coverage and care during a time of transition as important Affordable Care Act insurance market changes began to take root. These include many changes that affect women including a prohibition on using gender in setting premiums, as well as broadening access to a more comprehensive range of preventive services benefits without cost sharing.

The Kaiser Women’s Health Survey, conducted from Sept. 19 to Nov. 21, 2013, provides a national overview of women’s health experiences regarding health care coverage, access, and affordability among nonelderly women (ages 18 to 64) in the United States more than a year after the ACA requirements for preventive and contraceptive coverage affecting women took effect and shortly before the coverage expansions in the law took full effect in January 2014.

Key findings include:

  • Among women ages 18 to 64, more than a quarter of women (26%) delayed care in the past year because of cost, compared to 20 percent of men. About one fifth of women also reported skipping recommended tests or treatment (20%), forgoing or skipping prescription medicines (22%), higher rates than men (14% and 12%, respectively). And 28 percent of women say they had problems paying medical bills, compared to 19 percent of men.
  • While most women (82%) report a recent checkup or well woman visit, 6 in 10 know that insurance plans must now cover check-ups at no out-of-pocket cost, and 57 percent know that mammograms and pap tests are covered without cost sharing. Most women (70%) report discussing diet and nutrition with a provider in the past 3 years, but rates are lower for talking to a provider about smoking (44%), alcohol or drug use (31%), and mental health (41%).
  • Coverage under a parent’s plan is now the leading way that women under age 26 get their coverage, with 45 percent of women ages 18-25 reporting that they were covered on a parent’s plan as a dependent. According to the survey few women in this age group are aware that private insurers can send documentation to the primary policy holder (often a parent) that details the services they have used, raising privacy concerns for young adults who want their use of health services to be confidential.
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