Health Insurance For Women: What You Need to Know


If you are one of these uninsured females, here are a few facts that you need to know.

It isn't easy being female. Women suffer from higher rates of depression, osteoporosis, auto-immune disease, and chronic pain conditions. They are more likely to experience a stroke or die from heart disease. And their pesky reproductive systems are fraught with problems. And, yet, nearly 1 out of every 5 American women does not have health insurance.

If you are one of these uninsured females or if you are unhappy with your current coverage, here are a few facts that you need to know.

What types of health insurance plans are available?

1. Private Insurance.

If you wish to purchase your own plan from a private health insurance provider, there are two different types to choose from--Fee-for-Service or Managed Care.

  • Fee-for Service plans require you to pay a deductible each year. You can visit a doctor of your own choosing and he or she will submit a bill to the insurance company for reimbursement. Some of these plans may require you to co-pay.

  • Managed Care plans require you to select health care professionals who are members of a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or Preferred Provider Organization (PPO). An HMO will require you to pay a monthly fee whether you use the service or not. The PPO has higher premiums, but greater flexibility in choosing providers.

For a more comprehensive comparison of health insurance plans, check out this health insurance guide for women.

2. Public Insurance.

These are government funded health care programs designed to assist people who meet specific requirements.

  • Medicaid assists low-income Americans under the age of 65 with their health care needs. Administered by both the federal and state governments, each state has its own guidelines. For more information visit the Medicaid Website.

  • Medicare is designed to help anyone over the age of 65 with health care costs. While everyone on Medicare is covered for hospital and home health care expenses, the individual can opt to purchase the Part B medical coverage that looks after treatments such as laboratory testing and doctor visits and the Part D drug coverage that covers prescriptions.

Are there any special programs available for low-income women?

There are a plethora of programs in place to assist qualifying women with their health care needs and those of their dependent children.

  • State Children's Health Insurance Program aims to assist families whose income levels are too high for Medicaid, but too low to purchase private health insurance by providing free or inexpensive coverage for their children. This coverage includes vaccinations, prescriptions, physician appointments, hospital care, and more. You can check out if your children qualify by visiting Insure Kids Now.

  • Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a program available in all fifty states that provides assistance with healthy food, nutritional information, and health care for low-income women and their children. To learn more, visit the WIC section of the United States Department of Agriculture.

  • The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program offers low-income women free or inexpensive pap screening and mammograms. To see if you qualify, check out the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's NBCCEDP page.

Has the Affordable Health Care Act introduced any changes that benefit women?

Thanks to the Affordable Health Care Act, also known as "Obamacare," there are many significant changes that will greatly benefit women and their dependent children. Here are a few of the highlights.

  • Preventative Services will now be completely covered by insurance coverage such as counseling for domestic violence, breast-feeding support, HIV testing, Mammograms, Colonoscopies, well-woman visits, gestational diabetes testing, FDA-approved birth control, and more. Most plans will also offer preventative measures for children including autism screening, behavioral assessments, depressions screening for teens, fluoride treatments, hearing tests, immunizations, lead screening, vision screening and much more.

  • Pre-existing conditions can no longer preclude either you or your children from being eligible for coverage.

  • Premiums must now be equitable with companies no longer allowed to charge women more than men for coverage.

  • Pregnant women can no longer be denied coverage or charged higher premiums due to their condition.

Women are now presented with a myriad of health insurance options and government programs designed to protect their health. So don't be that one in five without coverage. Your health, after all, is the most important thing you own.

In your opinion, what is the biggest obstacle women face when it comes to securing health care coverage? How can they overcome it?