Women who are not able to do work, who are over 65 or have been on disability for a long time may need to look elsewhere for a health insurance policy, according to research that suggests the industry is struggling to provide the needed coverage for the growing population.
Key points:Women who are under 65 and on disability need health coverage for life as part of Medicare and private insurance policies are too expensive, research showsSome women are choosing to remain uninsured because they don’t feel they need it, says the studyThe study, commissioned by the Women’s Health Alliance, looked at the coverage offered to women aged 65-74 and found many were not able or willing to buy a policy from an insurance provider.
It found women who are 65 or over, or have a disability, were over five times more likely to lack coverage than those aged 65 and under, with a median of more than $100,000 in premium payments per woman in the study group.
In Australia, the health insurance industry has struggled to meet rising demand as demand for healthcare rises and demand for doctors is also growing.
The report found many women were choosing to stay uninsured because of fears about the cost of the policy, particularly when it comes to the deductible and other out-of-pocket costs.
“We know that when women have a pre-existing condition, they are at higher risk of having health insurance premiums increase and are more likely than men to face financial hardship,” said the report’s author, Melissa Wood.
“And when we look at the women who have health insurance in the Medicare and other health insurance plans, we also see that they are also at greater risk of financial hardship, so the financial impact of not having health coverage is significant.”
She said the data showed a lack of women’s health insurance coverage was a key issue for the industry, particularly among those aged under 65.
“If a woman is eligible for Medicare or private health insurance but she is not able, it is very likely that she will not be able to afford to buy the health coverage,” Ms Wood said.
“Women with health insurance are a growing group in Australia, but the costs of not being able to buy health insurance and not being covered are significant.”‘
We need to take care of the people that need us’Women who have been unable to buy coverage due to a preexisting condition or disability are less likely to be insured, according the report.
“Many of the women in the survey indicated that they felt they were unable to pay for health insurance because they did not have health coverage, such as because they had a pre‑existing condition,” Ms Woods said.
A woman who is not eligible for health coverage because they are not eligible to purchase it is less likely than other women to purchase health insurance.
“We need the insurance companies to take the cost out of women who need us and help those women to get health insurance,” she said.’
A bit of a burden’It is not just older women who face the challenge of finding a provider.
The research found the average age of a woman who had no health insurance was 42.
Women aged 65 to 74 and 65-79 are also more likely (28 per cent) than other age groups to be uninsured.
“When women are uninsured, it’s a bit of the burden for them to take on a family, to support themselves financially, and to be able have access to healthcare for their children and grandchildren,” Ms Golding said.
Ms Wood said many women felt the insurance industry was not working to help them afford coverage, and there was a lack on policy coverage and information for women.
“It’s not just a matter of women not being getting covered by their insurance, but also that women are not being compensated for their time or their efforts, which are often needed to be doing the work that they do to earn a living,” she explained.
“So we really need to do a lot more work to get more women into the workforce.”
Topics:health,health-policy,women,health,australiaFirst posted February 06, 2019 16:15:04Contact Melissa WoodMore stories from Victoria