WOMEN’S HEALTH: Managed Care Shows Some Improvements
Although women in managed care tend to be on par with women in fee-for-service plans in terms of access to health care, both groups could stand to see improvements in preventive services and counseling, according to the Commonwealth Fund's 1998 Survey of Women's Health. Women's health advocates discussed "what's next for women's health" last week at the annual meeting of the Association for Health Services Research. The interview-based survey of 2,850 women found 76% of insured women ages 18 to 64 are enrolled in a managed care plan. According to the survey, nearly 87% of women in managed care said they had a regular doctor, 74% said they received a Pap test in the past year and 27% said their health plan sent them reminders for preventive care services. Among those women with traditional fee-for- service care, 78% said they had a regular doctor, 67% reporting having a Pap test in the past year and 18% said their health plans sent them reminders. But women in both managed care and fee-for-service experienced suboptimal physician counseling, the study found. Just 16% of women in managed care plans and 21% in fee-for-service plans said their physician had counseled them on STDs in the past year. And only about two in five women in managed care and fee-for-service had talked to their physician in the past year about osteoporosis. "Physicians are missing opportunities to convey important information about prevention," said Dr. Karen Scott Collins, assistant vice president at the Commonwealth Fund. "Women are interested in taking better care of their health, but they need to know what steps they can take toward that goal" (Commonwealth Fund release, 6/28).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.