A report by the Commonwealth Fund, a U.S. non-profit group that conducts independent research on health policy, compared the coverage for U.S. women with that for women in 10 other industrialized nations, all of whom had universal health insurance systems.
Compared with men, women use more healthcare services, especially during their childbearing years and, on average, have lower incomes, the report said.
"Women are also more likely than men to be insured through a spouse or partner's employer, leaving them vulnerable to losing health benefits in the event of a divorce, death, or a firm's decision to eliminate dependent coverage," the report said. "Further, when women of childbearing age try to buy health insurance in the individual insurance market, they are charged higher premiums than men in most states and can rarely buy a plan that covers maternity care."
Forty-three percent of U.S. women reported they went without recommended care, did not see a doctor when sick, or failed to fill prescriptions because of costs in the past year -- the highest rate among 11 countries.
U.S. women without health insurance reported the highest rate of citing cost as the reason for skipping needed treatment such as getting prescriptions filled or taking full doses of medication; visiting a doctor for specific medical problems; medical tests or follow-up recommended by a doctor.