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How does health insurance affect me?

More than 17 million women (nearly one in five) age 18 to 64 are uninsured in the United States. As health insurance costs soar, employers cut benefits, or jobs disappear, millions of people slip through the cracks and lose their coverage. These are working Americans who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but don't have enough money to buy health insurance. Also, women are twice as likely as men to be insured as a "dependent" on a spouse's plan. So, she risks losing coverage if she divorces, is widowed, or if her spouse loses his job.

Uninsured women are more likely to suffer serious health problems. They tend to wait too long to seek treatment, and many don't fill needed prescription drugs because of cost. Also many don't get preventive care, including lifesaving screening tests such as mammorgrams and Pap tests. The lack of health insurance can even be deadly as research has shown that uninsured adults are more likely to die earlier than those who have insurance.

The rising costs of health insurance also affect insured women. According to one national survey, one in six privately insured women postponed or went without needed care because she could not afford it. In 2005, a typical insurance premium for individuals cost $4,024 and $10,800 for families.

This answer is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information Center.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.