On the issue of health insurance and women, are women getting a raw deal when it comes to safeguarding their care health provision and needs?
Women have traditionally been the care givers within their families and as such are less likely to be in full-time employment if at all.
Having low, or no income will have a disproportionate effect on women's health insurance coverage, especially in light of a woman's greater need for care health services throughout her life.
Such need is all the more pressing, given the escalating costs of health insurance cover. These are difficult times for women, particularly in light of statistics from a report by The Institute of Medicine, that estimates that 18,000 people die un- necessarily each year on account of being un-insured and lacking an insurance health woman's plan that would ensure access to appropriate care health provision.
Historically, full-time employment has provided a means of securing job-based coverage. However, even full-time work does not guarantee meeting women's care health cover.
Women are less likely than men to meet the criteria for and to participate in their employer's health plan. This is partly due to the fact that women's family roles and responsibilities as primary carer of their children, means they are more likely to work part-time, have lower incomes and rely on their partners' insurance coverage.
Government funded health insurance plans offer a safety net to families and individuals on low income. This assistance, which may be either on a state, federal or local level, include Medicare, Medicaid, military health care plans, state plans, and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
While Medicare will pay health care costs for those 65 years old and over, Medicaid - the other government health insurance cover, provide help to families with dependent children, or people with disabilities.
Medicaid, the state program for people on low income, states that in 2003 over 11 million low income women in the age group 19-64) were enrolled in their program. Health insurance and women cover under Medicaid is however restricted, since it is only available to low income women who are parents, pregnant, disabled or over 65 and who also meet the program's very restrictive income eligibility criteria.
Many women have, out of necessity stayed at home to raise their children and are more likely than men to be covered as dependents of their spouses, if at all.
Yet, they remain vulnerable to lack of health insurance and women cover and/or losing their insurance should they become divorced or widowed.
By not having their own health insurance and women plan, women are also at greater risk of losing cover, in the event their partners should lose their jobs; or should health insurance premiums increase to an un-affordable level; or an employer opt out of continuing family cover.
Women are therefore confronted with the grim reality that by not having an insurance health woman plan of their own, they are exposed to a number of worrying and potentially devastating 'in the event of scenarios'. It can be a bitter blow to suddenly find you no longer have in place, much needed protection because you are widowed or you are a divorcee.
The issue of a lack of health insurance for women of a younger age group is just as challenging. If you are a full-time working woman, the chances are that you might have work-based insurance cover if your employer runs a program and if you can afford it.
Historically, full-time employment has provided the greatest opportunity for securing job-based coverage. However, even full- time work does not guarantee a woman health insurance and women care health cover.
Cost pressures are increasingly acting as a barrier to health insurance and women health care even for women with private insurance. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2004, one in six privately insured women said she posponed or went without needed care because she couldn't afford it.
The reality is that if women do not meet the strict income eligibility criteria for assistance with insurance cover, those who work part-time or those who are stay at home mums or students, are less likely to be covered since individual health insurance and women health care cover will remain un-affordable and therefore out of reach.
health insurance and women on low income
Low cost health insurance programs can offer women health insurance plans at reduced prices for those on low income. This includes students, women who are unemployed and low income families.
A typical low cost insurance health woman plan will offer much lower premiums in comparison to other health insurance programs and where a woman is in employment, the employer will pay part of that premium. Any low cost health insurance and woman plan should also offer protection against major illnesses such as cancer or diabetes.
Naturally, subscribing to a low cost health insurance and women program will mean lower benefits because you're paying lower insurance premiums.
You're more likely to get very basic benefits such as hospital expenses, any surgical and disgnostic procedures - including doctors' bills, theatre and anesthesia etc.,
The disadvantage in a low cost insurance health woman plan however is that you will in all probability have to pay out of your own pocket, expenses that would otherwise be met in full by other health insurance programs. These might include certain surgical expenses, ambulance service, blood transfusion, oxygen, prescription medications or even prosthetic - should they be needed.
While there are obvious dis-advantages to low cost insurance, it may well be the only viable option open to you and give you that bit more protection than you otherwise would have had. Some health insurance and women coverage has got to be better than 'nothing at all!'.
Make a start by setting yourself a goal to research low cost health insurance and women plans or programs currently available. You can begin by clearly identifying what it is you need and then making a list of questions you want to ask, in preparation for when you contact some of the companies who are offering free health insurance quotes.
Women and health insurance - Are you too strapped for cash?
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