New research suggests that women with high-deductible plans may face significantly higher expenses than men, due primarily to routine screenings and services such as mammograms, cervical cancer vaccines, Pap tests, birth control and pregnancy care. According to the research, which was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, men under 45 years old paid less than $500 per year, but women spent more than $1,200 based on 2006 dollars. Harvard Medical School researchers also found that only a third of insured men in that age category spent more than $1,050 in annual costs, while 55 percent of women did. Researchers based their study on data from the 2003 federal Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, which surveyed roughly 33,000 people. The study did not take into account, however, that many high-deductible plans pay for vaccines and preventive medical services, a fact which has been widely noted by insurance industry experts.
To get more background on the study:
- read this Associated Press item