Many women still lack health insurance

April 15, 2004



Nationwide, nearly 16 million women ages 18 to 64 are uninsured, according to The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. The uninsured are a problem in the United States because the lack of health coverage can influence when and whether a person will seek medical care, ultimately affecting costs and medical outcomes.

By state, the percentage of uninsured women varies considerably: Minnesota has the lowest rate of uninsured women (7.9%), while Texas has the highest rate (28.3%). Rates for low-income women (those who earn less than 200% of poverty) range from a low of 18.9% in Massachusetts to a high of 50% in Texas.

Nationally, about nine out of 10 women are covered by Medicaid. Among low-income women, only about one out of five is insured by Medicaid.

Nearly three quarters of women nationwide do have some form of health insurance, including employer-based coverage and public insurance such as Medicare and military-related coverage. New Hampshire has the highest rate of privately insured women (84.5%), whereas New Mexico has the lowest (62%).

Private health insurance is less common among low-income women, with less than half with such coverage. New Mexico and the District of Columbia had the lowest rate of low income women with private insurance (34.9%), and Hawaii had the highest rate (57.4%).