Health care is a central component of women's lives, affecting their ability to care for themselves and their families, play a part in their communities, and participate in the workforce and earn a living. Access to comprehensive, affordable, and high quality care is essential for women to address their health care needs--which change across their lifespans. Women's access to care is shaped by a wide range of factors, including federal and state health care policies. The passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 marked a significant change in the availability and affordability of coverage and care for millions of formerly uninsured women and men. In addition to expanding coverage to more uninsured individuals, the law included provisions to address long-standing insurance practices that were discriminatory and had a disproportionate effect on women. Now all plans must include maternity benefits, are barred from gender rating where women are charged more than men for the same plan, and must cover, without cost sharing, recommended preventive services such as contraceptives. The Kaiser Family Foundation has conducted the Kaiser Women's Health Survey approximately every four years since 2001 to provide a look into the range of women's health care experiences, especially those that are not typically addressed by most surveys. The findings presented in this report examine women's coverage, access, and affordability of care, their connections to the health care delivery system and use of preventive care, use of reproductive health services, and responsibilities caring for family health needs. The survey was conducted in the summer and fall of 2017 and included a nationally representative sample of 2,751 women ages 18 to 64. In addition, a shorter survey of 600 men ages 18 to 64 was conducted and key findings are included for comparison. The 2017 survey compares findings to earlier years when possible and highlights differences for uninsured, low-income, and minority women--groups of women that have been historically underserved. Nearly three in ten women ages 18 to 64 live in households that are below 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL) which was $20,420 for a family of three in 2017. Nearly two in five women identify as racial and ethnic minorities (13% Black, 16% Latina, and 9% Asian or Other) and half are in their childbearing years. A sizable minority of women also report that their health is fair or poor (18%) and over four in ten have a health condition that requires monitoring and treatment (45%). For these women in particular, access to health care is an essential and ongoing concern.
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