Women Vulnerable When It Comes to Health Insurance

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I was surprised, to say the least, when I read these words this morning:

“Amazingly, the majority of insurance companies exclude coverage for child bearing, and many exclude pap smears and mammograms, major reasons women need health care coverage. Over 10 states permit insurance companies to exclude coverage for FDA-approved contraceptives.

“And, at least nine states allow insurance companies to deny applications from victims of domestic violence while numbers vary, women are the vast majority of victims of convicted domestic violence offenders.”

Please refer to the entire article for reasons why women are especially vulnerable when it comes to health care and insurance.

The woman who wrote this article for the Kansas City Star, Jaci Mairs, is an RN and a JD, but her facts were called into question by most of the people who left comments. Most insisted that they had never been without coverage for mammograms and pap smears and that maternity benefits were always offered (albeit as an add-on). No one had anything to say about the exclusion of coverage for FDA-approved contraceptives.

These criticisms don’t negate the fact that women are under-insured and often ignored in the health care debate.

The most obvious obstacles to women receiving adequate (or any) health insurance were the fact that 60% of all women are not in the work force and that when they do work they tend to work part-time or in the kinds of jobs that don’t offer insurance coverage. Some of the comments said that it was a woman’s choice whether or not to work and to work part-time and at low-paying jobs. So I guess that means that these women deserve to not have insurance?? Another comment was that women are usually covered by their husband’s policies. First of all, has this person seen the divorce rate as well as the rate of single-parent households in this country? (Statistics.) And secondly, men are losing their jobs left and right in this economy, so where does that leave their dependents (not to mention themselves)?

Everyone is suffering in this economy, but women are most at risk because they have less say-so and power over what happens to them. Anti-feminists figure that women have gotten all they deserve (good and bad), but the fact that there are anti-feminists proves to me that feminists still have a lot of work cut out for them. If women in general won’t speak up for themselves, then feminists have to do it for them. And one area in which feminists should be most vocal is in the health care debate.

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Ellen Keim

Ellen is a freelance writer, essayist and copy editor, living with three cats and a husband in Columbus, OH.

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