It isn’t easy being a woman. Our complex reproductive parts, fluctuating hormones, pregnancy woes, and propensity for brittle bones are a pain in the posterior. As if these problems are not enough, the fairer sex must worry about women’s cancers too. And no one seems to be able to tell when we are suffering from a heart attack.
Yes, being a female means having to deal with a myriad of health problems unique to our gender. And, without health coverage, treating these issues could prove financially disastrous–unless you arm yourself with the right health insurance.
Which plan is for me–private or public?
The first thing you need to do when making this decision is to calculate your income. Depending on how much you make, you may qualify for a publicly funded plan. If you make too much, you will likely have to opt for a private policy.
- Managed Care. This is a plan in which you will be covered for medical care provided by physicians and hospitals that are part of the plan’s network.
- Fee-for-service. These plans enable you to visit the doctor or hospital of your own choosing, but the insurer will only reimburse insured services. You may be required to pay a deductible amount, while the health plan will cover the expenses remaining.
- Medicaid. This is a joint state and federally-funded program that provides health care services to people with low incomes. If you’d like to learn more, check out “Do I Qualify for Medicaid?”
- Medicare. If you are 65 years old or more, you may qualify for this federal health insurance program. Some people under the age of 65 may also be eligible if they are disabled or suffer from irreversible kidney failure.
What if I don’t qualify for public insurance, but I don’t have enough money for private?
If you fall in this category, you are not alone. Many women–particularly those who are the chief breadwinner or are raising kids on their own–find themselves in this situation. Thankfully, there are programs in place to help.
- WIC. Otherwise known as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, WIC assists lower income women and their children up to age five by providing healthy foods and teaching them about nutrition.
- NBCCEDP. The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program strives to provide women with PAP tests and mammograms at little or no cost. To see if you qualify for this screening, visit the NBCCEDP link at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Cancer Care. This organization is designed to assist cancer patients and their loved ones with counseling needs, financial and co-pay assistance, emotional support, and education. If you are in need of Cancer Care’s aid, you can Find Help By Diagnosis or Topic.
For a comprehensive list of medical services available to women in varying situations, check out this Health Insurance Guide for Women.
What if I am pregnant?
Without health insurance, pregnancy-related medical visits and the birth, itself, can make a massive dent in your bank account. Here are a couple of options that may alleviate that dent.
State Maternal and Child Health Services. If you are a low-income expecting mother, you and your children may qualify for a federally-funded, state-administered health care assistance program. The State MCH Applications and Contact Information section of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can help you locate your state’s program and determine if you qualify.
Birthing Centers. If your pregnancy is expected to be an easy one, you may wish to deliver your baby at a birthing center. These deliveries can cost as little as half the price of a traditional hospital birth. Some will even accept Medicaid or work out a payment plan with you.
Just because you own a set of ovaries and a uterus, it does not mean that you are doomed to a life of horrendous medical bills. There are options that can make being a woman a little less painful–particularly in the wallet area. And we all know there’s nothing worse than wallet pain.
What is your biggest women’s health care gripe? How would you solve it?
Kimberley Laws is a freelance writer, avid blogger, and illustrator who–as many women do–contemplates a sex change every 28 days. You can follow her at The Embiggens Project and Searching for Barry Weiss.