New Report Reveals Women Pay 20% More for Healthcare Services than Men
A recent study conducted by Deloitte has shed light on a concerning disparity in healthcare costs between men and women. According to the report, employed women are spending an alarming 20% more on healthcare services out of pocket compared to their male counterparts.
Even when excluding expenses related to maternity care and pregnancy costs, the gender gap only drops to 18%. The report estimates that women between the ages of 19 and 64 are collectively paying a staggering $15.4 billion per year, compounding the financial burden of income inequity and the so-called “pink tax.”
The extra costs women endure for products marketed specifically to them also translate into higher healthcare expenses. In many ways, women are being charged more for their healthcare in the same manner they are charged more for gendered products. The $15.4 billion figure breaks down to approximately $266 per woman every year.
One of the key factors contributing to this excess spending is the higher utilization of healthcare services by women. Women often undergo more frequent imaging and scans, such as breast cancer screenings, and require more frequent visits to healthcare providers for gynecological appointments and menopausal transitions.
Furthermore, women often have higher rates of chronic conditions or healthcare needs, which adds to the overall financial burden. Surprisingly, even when accounting for the higher utilization of services, women’s total health expenditures are still 10% higher than that of men.
Experts argue that employers have a responsibility to design benefit plans that cover a wider range of services needed by women in order to promote healthier and more productive employees. It is also imperative for healthcare insurers and employers to reevaluate and redesign benefit coverage to reduce the financial strain placed on women and address the existing benefit gap.
Equity in benefits is the next challenge to address, as women’s care needs differ from men’s, and benefits should be tailored to support every individual’s specific requirements. By implementing these changes, we can work towards a fairer healthcare system for women, ensuring they have access to the care they need without bearing an excessive financial burden.
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