Work & Money

The New G.O.P. Health Care Bill May Increase Women’s Debt

The recent changes that the House of Representative made to The Affordable Care Act changed women’s healthcare for the worse. Planned Parenthood Federation of America president and CEO Cecile Richards called it “the worst bill for women’s health in a generation.” The bill makes being a woman a pre-existing condition”. The AHCA under former President Obama had revolutionized women’s healthcare by stopping insurance companies from charging women extra, made them cover maternity care, contraceptives and preventative services like Pap smears and mammograms at little to zero costs. it was also illegal to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.  All of that will change under this new legislation because certain treatments or ailments that affect many women could be considered pre-existing conditions.  But the new bill under the MacArthur Amendment would allow states to  repeal the discrimination restriction among others, giving them the power to choose who has to pay more for healthcare.

“This new bill would be disastrous for women’s health in general, and would have a disproportionate impact on women and families with low income, as well as women of color, in part because of how it allows discrimination based on pre-existing conditions,” Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, Planned Parenthood’s Chief Medical Officer, told Gizmodo. “For example, if a woman has a C-section, that would be considered a pre-existing condition, and she could be charged much higher premiums for healthcare coverage.”

Not only are these higher premiums going to affect women’s health but it’s going to hurt them financially as well.

According to a new study from The JPMorgan Chase Institute, credit card debt will jump for women but not for men due to medical expenses.

“Should out-of-pocket healthcare costs increase for women they may have to shoulder more of the economic burden of receiving care than men do.” Said Diana Farrell, president and chief executive officer.  “We’re trying to just expand the ways in which people think about this issue,” taking into account the financial consequences of health-care reform along with the medical ones.

The study, which was comprised of over anonymous 200,000 samples, compared the financial outcomes of accounts held by women versus men and examined changes in these outcomes that result from an extraordinary medical payment. The Study defined an “extraordinary cost” is a least $400, 1% minimum of annual income or two standard deviations from the norm. Due to the gender pay gap, women already start out with behind men before there is any extraordinary expense by making on average 20% less in income, spending and liquid assets.

The report had five key takeaways:

Finding 1: While most primary account holders were men (54 percent), low-income primary account holders were more likely to be women.

Finding 2: There was a gender gap in nancial outcomes— women exhibited roughly 20 percent lower levels of income, spending, and liquid assets, and slightly higher credit card debt burden than men.

Finding 3: Extraordinary medical payments represented a higher fraction of monthly take-home income for women than for men. Women were in a weaker nancial position than men to withstand an extraordinary medical payment.

Finding 4: Immediately before making an extraordinary medical payment, women exhibited a larger increase in liquid assets relative to men, suggesting that they were more likely than men to delay a medical payment until they were able to pay.

Finding 5: A year after the extraordinary medical payment, the gender gap in nancial outcomes had worsened, leaving women with signi cantly more revolving credit card debt than men.

A year after an extraordinary expense, a woman’s monthly credit card debt increase from 0.8 months of income to 0.9 months of income while men’s debt stayed unchanged at 0.6 months.

Read the full study of The Impact of Medical Payments