Women and Health Insurance

It is important for every person to have good health insurance programs. However, women face certain health issues that men do not have to consider, such as cervical cancer and pregnancy. Therefore it is important for women to make sure that the health plans have provisions for the types of gender-specific medical problems they may encounter. Whether you already have a health insurance policy or are searching for one, read the following information to learn more about health concerns that every woman should know about.

Women’s Health Issues

  • Breast Cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in women, and is responsible for over half a million deaths per year worldwide. It is very important for women to have regularly scheduled mammograms. Mammograms, and other types of breast exams, can help detect early signs of breast cancer. When cancer is detected early, a patient may have a better chance of recovering from the disease.
  • Prenatal Care is often another health concern for women. When looking for a health insurance plan, women should always inquire about the prenatal care coverage her plan offers if she wishes to have children. Prenatal care is not included in some health care plans. Plans that do offer prenatal health care will usually cover doctors appointments, birth, and hospital stays. If you already have a health insurance plan, check with your health care carrier to see what prenatal costs are covered.
  • Cervical Cancer and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) are among the least understood cancers among women. Cervical cancer is usually caused by certain strains of HPV, which is most often communicated through sexual intercourse. As with all cancers, early detection is essential, and women who are diagnosed with early-stage cervical cancer have a good chance of recovering. But an alarming survey by MSNBC found that only 20% of women are aware of the link between HPV and cervical cancer, indicating that few women are aware of the visible warning signs of infection. Regular pap smears are essential to monitor your body for symptoms of HPV and ultimately cervical cancer. Another promising option for women is a recently approved vaccine for HPV that can virtually eliminate your chance of infection.

Problems Uninsured Women May Face

According the National Coalition on Health Care, nearly 50 million people in the US lack health insurance, and many insured adults have insufficient insurance policies to cover their specific health needs. Going without a health insurance plan can be risky for anyone, man or woman, because the medical fees you may incur if you fall ill could be extremely high.

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But women who do not have health insurance coverage will definitely find themselves in a tight situation if they become pregnant if they do not have a health insurance plan or if they do not have prenatal care in their coverage. Pregnancy is considered a preexisting condition, so many health insurance carriers will deny coverage for pregnant women.

Government Funded Women’s Health Programs

But there is some good news for uninsured women who are expecting a child, or have been diagnosed with another preexisting condition. You may qualify for certain federally-funded programs designed to help pregnant women and people with high risk health conditions afford treatment.

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Here’s a list of some options that uninsured women may find particularly useful:

  • Medicaid offers comprehensive care to adults and their families who are below the federal poverty line and are unable to afford coverage.
  • High Risk Pools are state-funded programs designed to provide coverage to adults with preexisting conditions – including those commonly encountered by women, such as pregnancy and breast cancer.
  • WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is a government program that provides eligible mothers with food vouchers, advice about nutrition and health care options for low-income mothers, and referrals to doctors and pediatricians. WIC is also a great resource for providing new mothers with parenting support.
  • Maternity Cards are a worthwhile option for expectant mothers to consider. These are only available for women who lack insurance and do not qualify for Medicaid. Maternity Cards are not insurance programs, and are not a long term solution for your healthcare needs. But these do offer a temporary solution for new mothers by providing discounts on many medical expenses.

Women’s Health Plan Needs

Women have a variety of gender-specific health care needs that need to be met, and a good, comprehensive health care plan can help ensure that you get treatment if diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening condition. When deciding between insurance plans, women should ensure that their policy – or prospective policy – includes coverage for preventative care procedures such as breast exams and pap smears. Many co-pay plans enable you to get coverage for preventative health screenings, and often cover the full cost of annual checkups.

Make sure that you know which insurance options are available in your area, and ask a licensed insurance agent about what provisions each policy extends for pregnancy, prenatal care, and regular well-visits to a doctor.