[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 5-Mar-2013
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Contact: Kathy Fackelmann
kfackelmann@gwu.edu
202-994-8354
George Washington University

Women's health must be priority for state health exchange marketplaces, new report says

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Women's issues play a major role in the health of the nation and should be a key consideration for policymakers as they design and set up the new insurance exchanges, according to a report co-authored by policy experts at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS). The report offers a checklist for the state-based health insurance exchanges, one that will help ensure that women, children and family members can get the services they need to prevent costly and debilitating medical problems.

"Women often use a greater range of health services over a lifetime; they may also shoulder higher annual medical costs and often act as coordinators of health care for entire families," said co-author Susan F. Wood, PhD, who is the executive director of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health and a professor of health policy at SPHHS. "This report identifies some of the major issues that states will need to consider if they are to provide the kinds of services that can keep millions of American women and their families healthy."

The Jacobs Institute of Women's Health, at SPHHS, The Kaiser Family Foundation and the Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender Biology at the Brigham & Women's Hospital all worked together to produce the report: Ensuring the Health Care Needs of Women: A Checklist for Health Exchanges. This report and checklist includes resources from a wide range of organizations that focus on the implementation of health care reform, which can be found at a new website: http://www.womenandhealthreform.org.

The report notes that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) established online marketplaces where women can comparison shop for health insurance plans. Some states, like Massachusetts, have well-established exchanges already in place but many others are scrambling to set them up now, Wood said. Under the ACA, women will have greater access to health insurance and to no-cost preventive services that can keep them healthy--such as mammograms and other screening tests that can detect cancer and other chronic diseases at an early, more treatable stage.

This report, and the checklist, can help states fashion insurance exchanges that will best meet the needs of millions of American women. According to the report, state officials should consider:

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About the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health:

An academic organization based at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health is working to improve health care for women through research, dialogue, and information dissemination. The Jacobs Institute promotes environments where an interdisciplinary audience, including health care professionals, researchers, policymakers, consumers, and advocates come together to discuss ways to advance women's health.

About the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services:

Established in July 1997, the School of Public Health and Health Services brought together three longstanding university programs in the schools of medicine, business, and education and is now the only school of public health in the nation's capital. Today, more than 1,100 students from nearly every U.S. state and more than 40 nations pursue undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral-level degrees in public health. http://sphhs.gwu.edu/



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