(HealthDay News) – In 2010, 20% of women aged 19–64 years were uninsured, with many more inadequately insured, according to a report published July 13 by the Commonwealth Fund.

Ruth Robertson, from the Commonwealth Fund in New York City, and colleagues used data from three surveys to examine the insurance status of women in the United States in 2010. The authors also compared the experiences of women in the United States with those of women in 10 other industrialized nations.

The committee found that 18.7 million women (20%) aged 19–64 years were uninsured in 2010. This represented an increase from about 15% in 2000. In addition, in 2010, 16.7 million women had health insurance, but their out-of-pocket costs were so high relative to their income that they were effectively underinsured. Compared with women in 10 other industrialized countries, women in the United States, with or without health insurance, were more likely to go without needed health care because of cost and had greater difficulty paying their medical bills.

“A lack of comprehensive health insurance in the United States has exposed women to large financial risks during times of illness,” the authors write. “Continued implementation of the Affordable Care Act reforms will be essential to ensuring the future affordability of health care for women and households.”

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