Women's health must be priority for state health exchange marketplaces, new report says

March 5th, 2013 in Health /

Women's issues play a major role in the health of the nation and should be a key consideration for policymakers as they design and set up the new insurance exchanges, according to a report co-authored by policy experts at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS). The report offers a checklist for the state-based health insurance exchanges, one that will help ensure that women, children and family members can get the services they need to prevent costly and debilitating medical problems.

"Women often use a greater range of over a lifetime; they may also shoulder higher annual and often act as coordinators of health care for entire families," said co-author Susan F. Wood, PhD, who is the executive director of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health and a professor of at SPHHS. "This report identifies some of the major issues that states will need to consider if they are to provide the kinds of services that can keep millions of American women and their families healthy."

The Jacobs Institute of Women's Health, at SPHHS, The and the Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender Biology at the Brigham & Women's Hospital all worked together to produce the report: Ensuring the Health Care Needs of Women: A Checklist for Health Exchanges. This report and checklist includes resources from a wide range of organizations that focus on the implementation of health care reform, which can be found at a new website: http://www.womenandhealthreform.org.

The report notes that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) established online marketplaces where women can comparison shop for health insurance plans. Some states, like Massachusetts, have well-established exchanges already in place but many others are scrambling to set them up now, Wood said. Under the ACA, women will have greater access to and to no-cost preventive services that can keep them healthy—such as mammograms and other screening tests that can detect cancer and other chronic diseases at an early, more treatable stage.

This report, and the checklist, can help states fashion insurance exchanges that will best meet the needs of millions of American women. According to the report, state officials should consider:

Provided by George Washington University

"Women's health must be priority for state health exchange marketplaces, new report says." March 5th, 2013. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-03-women-health-priority-state-exchange.html