50% more women than men are worried about health care affordability and access in the U.S., revealed in a new Kaiser Opinion Poll, the Health Security Watch, based on interviews from May 2012.

Overall, about the same proportion of men and women had problems paying medical bills in the past year — 26% vs. 27%, respectively.

However, when it comes to self-rationing health care — delaying or skipping treatment due to cost — gender gap shows, with 52% of men and 64% of women delaying or skipping health care.

Underneath these numbers are even greater gaps between men and women. The largest differences in Mars and Venus in health care economics deal with relying on home remedies, where women do more healthcareDIY than men: 42% of women compared with 33% of men. In addition, putting off or postponing treatment due to cost is more prevalent among females, with 34% of women postponing care vs. 25% of men.

But the biggest differences show up when Kaiser Family Foundation asked men and women if they are “very worried about” various aspects of health care economics and access, shown in the chart. The 50% differences show up in red, and include:

  • Not being able to afford the health care services you think you need, 30% women vs. 20% men
  • Not being able to afford the prescription drugs you need, 24% women vs. 16% men
  • Having to stay in your current job instead of taking a new job for fear of losing health benefits (often referred to as “job-lock”), 15% women vs. 10% men
  • Losing your health insurance coverage, 24% women vs. 17% men.
Overall, two-thirds of U.S. adults (64%) are worried about the rising cost of health care, a close third worry priority after #1 income not keeping up with rising prices (69% of Americans) and not having enough money for retirement (among 65% of Americans).
Health Populi’s Hot Points: Health insurance insecurity is not a problem just for low-income Americans. 38% of people earning at least $90,000 a year delayed or skipped health care in the past year due to cost, and 13% of these affluent Americans said they had problems paying medical bills in the past year. Among this wealthiest cohort in the Kaiser poll, 22% relied on home remedies and OTC drugs instead of seeing the doctor, 19% skipped dental care, and 16% skipped a recommended medical test or treatment. 22% of the wealthy are also worried about having to pay more for health care or insurance.
With the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act due tomorrow, June 28, 2012, this poll cites why key provisions in that law would be valued by the bulk of Americans. It will be instructive to read the various #SCOTUS opinions to see which Justices are in touch with people’s needs and concerns when it comes to health care.