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Rate of Women Without Health Insurance on the Rise

The rate of uninsured women is rising faster than the rate for men, according to a study commissioned by the Health Insurance Association of America. The percentage of uninsured women has risen in every adult age group, and women aged 45-64 are less likely to have insurance coverage than men.

One of the study’s authors, William Custer of the Center for Risk Management and Insurance Research at Georgia State University, said that welfare reform dropping many women from Medicaid rolls may be one cause of the increasing numbers of women without insurance. According to a study by the Urban Institute, most women who leave welfare are working in low-wage service jobs, which are less likely than other jobs to provide benefits, including health insurance.

Additionally, the changing nature of the labor market disproportionately affects women because women are more likely than men to have part-time jobs that do not provide health insurance, according to the AFL-CIO’s working women study. Women make up 70 percent of part-time workers. The AFL-CIO study showed that only 39 percent of female private-sector wage and salary workers (compared with 46 percent of men) had jobs that provided health insurance.

Sources:

Reuters Health, Urban Institute and AFL-CIO - December 8, 1999

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