2007 - %3, April

Advertise on MotherJones.com

High Deductible Health Plans Penalize Women

| Fri Apr. 6, 2007 12:52 PM PDT

A recent Harvard study has found that having breasts and a cervix may cost women an arm and a leg when it comes to healthcare.

Women enrolled in high deductible health plans pay up to three times more in medical costs than men. High deductible plans, pushed by Bush as a way to reduce costs, require the insured to pay at least $1,050 and up to $5,000 out-of-pocket before insurance kicks in.

The Harvard researchers found that women's (age 18-64) healthcare costs were, on average, $1,844, while men's were $847. The reason for the disparity, the study found, is that women's yearly routine health costs--pap smears, breast exams, birth control prescriptions--are more than men's.

"High deductible plans punish women for having breasts and uteruses and having babies," the study's lead author, Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, told the Washington Post. "When an employer switches all of his employees into a consumer-driven health plan, it's the same as giving all the women a $1,000 pay cut."

According to Hillary Clinton's recent speech, that's not something that women can afford: working full-time, year-round, they still only make 77 cents to a man's dollar.

--Jen Phillips

Advertise on MotherJones.com