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Women take the lead in making family health insurance decisions

Health insurance coverage is key to making crucial preventive, primary and speciality care services accessible to women. December 2007 data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit California health care philanthropy, also says that women with health coverage are more likely to take advantage of new advances in women's health care.

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Among women ages 18 to 64, 38 percent buy group health plans through their own workplace.

How do women secure health insurance? Among women ages 18 to 64, 38 percent buy group health plans through their own workplace and 25 percent are on someone else's group plan (like a spouse's plan) as a dependent. Six percent buy their own private plan, 10 percent receive Medicaid and 18 percent are uninsured.

The 17 million uninsured women generally have no access to plans at work, don't qualify for Medicaid and can't afford individual policies. The number of uninsured women has grown by 1.2 million since 2004. This is especially worrisome because when women lack health coverage, they generally receive lower quality of care when they do seek medical services and they have poorer health outcomes than women who have insurance.

The Kaiser Family Foundation reports this about insured women:

  • Women who are younger and low-income are particularly at risk for being uninsured, as are women of color, especially Latinas.
  • Nearly eight out of 10 (79 percent) uninsured women are in families with at least one part-time or full-time worker.
  • Almost two-thirds of uninsured women (65 percent) are in families with at least one adult working full-time. Only 21 percent of uninsured women are in families without workers.
  • Uninsured rates vary across the nation, ranging from 28 percent of women in Texas to a low of 9 percent of women in Minnesota.

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