WASHINGTON: Releases Women’s Reproductive Health Survey
The nation's first comprehensive review of women's reproductive health insurance benefits will be released today at a press conference held by Washington State Insurance Commissioner Deborah Senn (D). The state survey focuses on health insurance issues with which consumers are most concerned, and reviews insurance plans offered by 10 Washington State Health Care service contractors, four HMOs and two disability carriers. "This study supports some of the core concerns women have had with the current health insurance system," Senn said, adding that the survey illustrates serious inconsistencies and discrepancies in insurance benefits between men and women. Senn said the survey will be used to guide discussions with insurance companies and may be used to write legislation. The survey is especially timely since both state and federal legislation has been introduced mandating coverage for contraceptive services as well as other women's health care needs, including maternity services, infertility services, HIV/AIDS and other STD treatments and gynecological care. Some survey findings:
- Fewer than one-third of the surveyed health plans cover contraception.
- Many insurance plans specifically exclude women's benefits --such as coverage of oral contraceptives.
- In an effort to save money, employers often carve out women's health benefits when insurance companies offer them.
The Health News Press Conference will be held at 10:30 a.m., PST, at the Executive Inn, 200 Taylor N., Seattle, WA. The report can be accessed after 10:30 a.m. on the Washington State Insurance Commissioner's website: www.wa.gov.ins., or by calling: (360) 586-4422. (Office of the Insurance Commissioner release, 9/8). Don't forget to read the Kaiser Family Foundation's free Daily Reproductive Health Report -- available online at www.kff.org. This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.