Health Coverage and Expenses: Impact on Older Women’s Economic Well‐Being

Title Health Coverage and Expenses: Impact on Older Women’s Economic Well‐Being
Year 2009
Author A. Salganicoff, J. Cubanski, U. Ranji and T. Neuman
DOI 10.1080/15544770902901874
Journal Journal of Women, Politics & Policy
Document Type Journal Article
Document Availability Abstract
Classification Other complementary UHC initiatives
Abstract The health issues women face over the course of their lives, as well as policies that shape Medicare, Medicaid, and other supplemental coverage can affect retired women’s economic well?being. This study uses a nationally representative sample of Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 and older in 2002 to explore gender?based differences in health and long?term care use, spending patterns, and the financial burden of health and long?term care out?of?pocket health expenses. Women’s health care expenses were higher than men’s; older women paid for a greater share of their total spending out of pocket and they faced a greater financial burden by shouldering these out?of?pocket costs with less income at their disposal. Low?income women, those with Medigap or no supplemental coverage, and white women, who are less likely to qualify for Medicaid which covers long term care, faced the greatest financial burdens associated with health and long?term care costs. The implications of these findings for women in the context of the current health policy landscape are discussed. Controlling health spending and developing options to finance long?term care are key elements of the policy solutions that will need to be developed to preserve and support economic security for millions of retired women in the United States.


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