Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.

Study Finds Insurance Excludes Important Women's Health Coverage

Reading the fine print in your health plan isn't the easiest, most pleasant task – but if you are a woman, feel inclined to take a closer look.

A new study by National Women's Law Center (NWLC) has revealed that among the services that health plans refuse to cover, women's healthcare is the most excluded.

Even with the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has been highly beneficial for women since 2009, these exclusions are steeped deeply within dozens of pages of plan coverage materials — a stark contrast to the easy-to-read general summary of 13 women's benefits that are included in marketplace plans offered by 109 insurers in 16 states in 2014 and 2015, according to the study.

Though the NWLC notes that it us unclear that women have been prevented from certain treatments because of these exclusions, it still means that those treatments would come out of pocket — costs especially unfavorable to women with a family history of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer because of gaps in care. 

This is because along with treatments in infection following cosmetic surgery, maintenance therapy for a chronic disease, fetal reduction surgery, is a lack of coverage for genetic testing.

So women with this family history of breast cancer have a more challenging time finding out about it, because 75 percent of health insurance plans don't require coverage for genetic testing.

Though 400 out of the 230,000 cases of breast cancer diagnosed annually are gene-based, this is still an important link in the fight to help breast cancer that is being disregarded. This is especially because, without coverage, the "list price" is close to a whopping $4,000, according to The New York Times

Outside of the insurance realm, this has been happening in the public health world for decades. According to Huffington Post, while more than half of the U.S. population is female, as recently as just two decades ago, "women’s health was neglected in the halls of public policy, at the research bench, and in clinical settings."

Former Congresswoman and MAKER Pat Schroeder expanded on this very issue with us in her MAKERS story, shown in the player above.

"Women were in none of the National Institutes of Health studies," Schroeder said. "The one thing they had done on breast cancer they had done on men, and we were absolutely appalled ... Their defense was that the tests were more difficult to preform on women because of their more ranging metabolic states."

Based on this information, it would seem that sexism lies in the fine print of multiple branches of the healthcare industry. Other forms of sexism in this industry are more blatant, though. Take a look at our MAKERS short documentary that highlights women in the healthcare industry who combat sexism in their careers and beyond.

NEXT: Women in Healthcare»

Related Stories:
What You Need to Know About the New Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines
Breast Cancer Pioneer Dr. Susan Love On Being the Doctor and Becoming a Patient

Photo Credit: Getty Images