(HealthDay News) — Among people with employer-sponsored insurance, women are more likely than men to report being unable to afford needed health care, according to a research letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers examined reported differences between men and women with employer-sponsored insurance in obtaining affordable health care over the last 2 decades.

The analysis included data from 238,852 participants (aged 19 to 64 years) in the National Health Interview Survey (2000 to 2020).

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Women were more likely than men to report unaffordable medical care, dental care, prescription medication, and mental health care.

The mean prevalences of unaffordability for women and men, respectively, were:

  • 3.9% and 2.7% for medical care
  • 8.1% and 5.4% for dental care
  • 5.2% and 2.7% for prescription medication
  • 2.1% and 0.8% for mental health care.

For both men and women, the reported inability to afford most needed health care services increased from 2000 to the first change point (2009 to 2010), decreased until the second change point (2013 to 2017), and increased thereafter.

“Although the Affordable Care Act extended ESI [employer-sponsored insurance] coverage to uninsured young adults through its dependent coverage provision, eliminated cost sharing for preventive services, and implemented maternal care coverage, rising health care costs, growth in high-deductible plans, and increased out-of-pocket health care expenditures may have contributed to increased unaffordability in recent years,” the study authors wrote.

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