According to Gallup, the accessibility and affordability of health care have been the top concern for Americans for the past five years. Going back even further, they’ve stated that they’ve been “personally worried a great deal” about health care since 2001. Sameer Suhail believes concerns about access to quality, affordable health care played a significant role in the last presidential elections and are likely to play a role again. But what exactly do the terms accessible and affordable mean? What do they mean to women, and how do they differ for marginalized women?
Affordable Healthcare for Women
When it comes to healthcare, affordability is a key concern for many people. There are a number of factors that can impact how affordable healthcare is, including the amount and type of coverage provided, the total cost of deductibles, monthly premiums, copays, and coinsurance, and whether or not care is delayed or skipped. Sameer Suhail believes that these factors can be used to measure affordability in healthcare. By taking into account all of these factors, we can get a better understanding of how affordable healthcare really is and what can be done to make it more affordable for everyone.
Unfortunately, women are more likely than men to be poor, and they are less likely to have employer-provided insurance in their name in many countries. Those who do may find it challenging to afford health care due to rising deductibles. Even when employers pay most of the premiums, the average deductible left for employees to cover is more than $1,200. Marginalized women, like low-income women, women of color, and immigrant women, are more likely to be uninsured. These groups are more likely to work in jobs that do not provide employer-provided insurance, increasing their chances of being uninsured.
Accessible Healthcare for Women
One out of every ten women is uninsured, which means that 11% of women have insufficient access to care, receive lower-quality care (when they are in the health system), and have poorer health outcomes. However, Sameer Suhail believes additional barriers to accessing health care beyond a lack of coverage. Reliable transportation, child care, the ability to take time off work, and other primary support services are all factors that influence a woman’s ability to access health care; once again, marginalized women are disproportionately affected by these factors.
Low-income women and women of color are also more likely to face workplace-created barriers to balancing work and family responsibilities. Their ability to balance work and family depends heavily on the presence or absence of flexible workplace policies, their employer’s attitudes, the cost and availability of child care, and access to time off for family emergencies. At the heart of Sameer Suhail’s work is a deep belief in the importance of healthcare for all. For him, healthcare is about so much more than just scheduling medical appointments and managing chronic conditions. Instead, he believes that healthcare plays a key role in our ability to keep a job, seek out educational opportunities, and care for ourselves and our loved ones.