A survey released May 15 by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows many U.S. women are not aware of all services covered under the 2010 Affordable Care Act. These provisions include the mandatory inclusion of maternity care, coverage without cost sharing for preventive services such as contraceptives, and a prohibition on charging women more than men for the same plan. The 2013 Kaiser Womens Health Survey was conducted from Sept. 19 to Nov. 21, 2013, according to a KFF news release.
The survey involved a random telephone sample of 3,015 women ages 15-64 living in the U.S. Telephone interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. A shorter companion telephone survey with a nationally representative sample of 700 men ages 18-64 was conducted using similar methods.
The findings examine womens healthcare coverage, access and affordability to care, their connections to health providers and use of preventive care based on an analysis of a sample of 2,907 women ages 18-64. To provide the data for the analysis of womens use of reproductive and sexual health services, the report analyzed the responses of 1,403 women ages 15-44.
Key findings of the study include:
Among women ages 18-64, about 26% delayed care in the past year because of cost, compared to 20% of men.
About 20% of women reported skipping recommended tests or treatment, and 22% reported forgoing or skipping prescription medicines, higher rates than men (14% and 12%, respectively).
Also, 28% of the women surveyed said they had problems paying medical bills, compared to 19% of men.
Only six out of 10 women surveyed knew insurance plans must now cover check-ups at no out-of-pocket cost, and 57% knew mammograms and pap tests are covered without cost sharing.
In 2013, 45% of the women ages 18-25 reported they were covered on a parents plan as a dependent. Because they are adult children, the extension of coverage has raised concerns about their ability to maintain privacy regarding the use of sensitive health services such as reproductive and sexual healthcare and mental health, according to the release. The survey found 37% of young women are aware private insurers typically send an explanation of benefits documenting use of healthcare services to primary policy holders, who are often a parent; yet 71% of the women said it is important their use of health services remain confidential.
While most reproductive age women have had recent conversations with a provider about contraception (60%), the rate is lower regarding sexual history (50%), HIV (34%), other STIs (30%) and intimate partner violence (23%). Furthermore, many women are incorrectly under the impression that HIV and STI tests are routinely included as part of their gynecological exams. While about four in 10 reproductive age women report they have had a test for HIV (44%) or other STIs (40%) in the past two years, about half of these women mistakenly assumed the test was a routine part of an examination. Therefore, the actual screening rates are likely lower than the share of women who report being tested, according to the survey report.
Among those surveyed, one in three women identified as racial and ethnic minorities (13% Black, 14% Hispanic and 9% Asian or Other). A small percentage of the women surveyed reported their health is fair or poor (15%), and 43% have a health condition that requires monitoring and treatment.
The report concludes that attention to these concerns will need to be part of the larger agenda to improve womens access to care and coverage, quality of care, and ultimately, their health and well-being.
To read the full report and see survey results, go to http://bit.ly/1lk54rM