One barrier is the historical “isolation” of reproductive health and maternal health from other key clinical and non-clinical services that are critical to women's comprehensive health. Another challenge is insufficient attention in medical specialties to gender differences in disease progression and treatment. Inadequate education, research and treatment are just one of the many and enormous barriers women face in the health system. Another is affordability and accessibility.
Costs and Affordability Aren't the Only Barriers to Women's Health Care. Lack of time and flexibility at work can pose a challenge in receiving care for a sizeable fraction of women. Nearly one in four women say they didn't get the care they needed because they didn't have time (24%) and because they couldn't leave work (23%) (Figure. Transportation and childcare also present as barriers to care, but to a lesser extent.
These barriers affect women at all income levels, but low-income women often experience childcare and transportation problems. One-third of low-income women (34%) also reported losing or delaying care because they couldn't leave work, compared to one in five higher-income women (19%). Based on disparities by poverty level, some barriers are reported more frequently between women of color and those in regular or poor health (Table. Women face unique challenges in health care and are more likely to be diagnosed with certain diseases than men.
Chronic diseases and conditions, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, are the leading causes of death for women. Nearly half of adults (133 million people) have a chronic illness, and half of them have two or more chronic diseases. Thirty-eight percent of women suffer from one or more chronic diseases, compared to 30 percent of men. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 75 percent of all U.S.
UU. Health Care Dollars Treat People With Chronic Illness. Managing Chronic diseases is often difficult for the uninsured, and women are more likely to be uninsured. Long-term care and elder problems affect women more often because they live longer; they have higher rates of disability and chronic health problems; and lower incomes than men on average, placing them in greater need of state and community resources, such as Medicaid.
For example, inadequate medical education and training can prevent doctors from understanding how best to address the unique health needs faced by women. In addition, there is a lack of investment in women's health and a lack of female leadership on health boards. Given women's unique health needs, it's important for states to consider these needs when considering broader models and changes in the health system. Three out of ten women with employer-sponsored insurance (29%) and one-third of women with individual policies or Medicaid reported that their plan would not cover a particular prescription drug or that they had to pay a very expensive copayment to get it.
Not only do women face the loss of their bodily right to choose, but there are significant barriers that women face every day in the healthcare system. Women in the United States are treated with the same practices and approaches that were investigated predominantly in men, but that do not have the same effect on women. Challenges in the use of primary care among women can be largely attributed to the social determinants of health. Most relevant to women are the services that must now be covered by new health plans, including annual women's follow-up visits; a more comprehensive range of contraceptive education, counseling, methods and services; services for pregnant women, including screening for gestational diabetes and breastfeeding counseling and equipment; better cervical cancer screening; counseling for sexually transmitted infections and HIV counseling and screening; and domestic violence screening and counseling.
To address disparities in insurance coverage for women, states have taken a number of steps to improve accessibility, including expanding Medicaid eligibility for pregnant women and banning insurance policies that discriminate against women. This was more common in women aged 45 to 54 (31%) and 55 to 64 (32%) than in women aged 18 to 44 (23%). However, there are a handful of specific principles for women's health that will be essential to ensure that access to and use of primary care is equitable between women and men. Low-income women are more likely to work part-time or part-time, work in a low-wage job without health benefits, or live in a household without attachment to the workplace, all of which can affect the stability of coverage.