A recent troll from Deloitte reports on women in the U.S. spending $15.4 billion in out-of-pocket expenses more than men annually has raised perplexing questions. Despite that employed women are not paid as much as men even when working full time yearly this financial distress continues!
Deloitte also revealed that maternity related services were excluded from out-of-pocket costs for women and if added, the estimated health cost would go higher.
Understanding Out-of-pocket Expenses
These are the costs an individual pays for medical services, goods or other expenses that are not covered by insurance or other forms of financial assistance. These expenses are directly paid from individual personal funds.
Out-of-pocket costs include deductible payments, coinsurance and copayments for covered services, plus all costs for services that are not covered.
Why do women spend more than men on health out-of-pocket?
Recent findings proves that men tend to delay medical visits whilst women frequently give attention to medical services staying up to date with visiting hospitals when the need arises.
Most times women spend more than the estimated budget for insurance deductible on services such as radiology labs, mental healthcare, emergency room visits , physical occupational therapy and chiropractic care.
Consequences for women
This recent findings has truly been distressing to women and it feels like being cheated in the case of receiving less payment but being charged more. This arising issue will not only be distressing but leads to financial worries as health services consume more than expected budget.
Dr. Kulleni Gebreyes, U.S. chief health equity officer and life sciences and health care sector leader stated at deloitte consulting said “our analysis highlights hidden financial burdens on women that can not only impact their pocket book, but potentially their health.”
The need for reconsideration
The fact that men are paid more but charged less while women are paid less but charged on more is a huge problem. Dr. Kulleni Gebreyes, “This is a problem we’re identifying that business leaders can actually solve within their own organisations. The takeaway being that women get paid less, and that they pay more on healthcare.”
It is mandatory to delve into this suppressing issue for a befitting balance between women and men health related expenses. One of the health services rendered to women that consumes more than expected is breast cancer imaging and gynaecological examinations.
Deloitte analysis says employers could close the $15.4 billion cost- sharing gender gap through enhanced benefits set at an estimated cost of $133 per employee yearly or about $11 per month.
Dr. Gebreyes said ” Our task is that companies look at their data, examine if and where the gap exists and step back to have more of an equitable design process to come up with what are the health benefits that would meet the needs of their workforce.”
The solution/Measures to amend the arising issue
Andy Davis, principal in the healthcare practice at Deloitte consulting and one of the report authors gave an impactful strategy to solving this issue. He stated two main points to close the gender gap:
- Analyzing premium and out-of-pocket expenses in the specific employee population;
- Creating a broader set of protected services for women such as diagnostic mammogram services is the means to help women maintain their health and wealth.
Stacy Francis founder and board chair of savvy ladies and the president and CEO of Francis Financial encouraged women to take control of their financial lives by cross checking medical bills, learning health insurance benefits and cutting unnecessary expenses to build up an emergency fund for living expenses and/or to pay off existing medical debts.
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