One in Four U.S. Women Struggles to Pay Medical Bills

Twenty-six percent of American women had problems paying their medical bills in 2009-10, far more than women in countries like Australia and Germany, MSNBC reported July 13.

Research shows that women utilize healthcare services more than men but generally earn less money. “Women, particularly those in their childbearing years, are uniquely at risk for being unable to afford the care they need, having trouble with medical bills, and having high out-of-pocket costs,” said Commonwealth Fund vice president Sara Collins in releasing a new report on healthcare economics and women.

The study estimated that 35 million U.S. women were uninsured or underinsured in 2009-10. However, the Commonwealth Fund said that the U.S. healthcare-reform law recently upheld by the Supreme Court should help trim those numbers. For instance, 30 percent of women in Texas were uninsured or underinsured, compared to just 5 percent in Massachusetts, which has a statewide health insurance program similar to that found in the “Obamacare” bill.

Overall, the number of uninsured Americans rose 80 percent between 2003 and 2010, Commonwealth estimates.