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Informing Policy. Advancing Health.

Women and Men: Disparities in Health Access

March is Women’s History Month. This year’s theme is Make it Happen, and it is all about closing the gender gap. In order to close these gaps, we need to know where they are.

Women report more barriers to health care than men, according to the 2013 Colorado Health Access Survey (CHAS). Almost one of five women said they could not get an appointment at the doctor’s office as soon as one was needed. In comparison, about one of eight men reported the same problem.

Also, 10.4 percent of women said they could not get an appointment because the doctor was not accepting new patients, while 6.4 percent of men ran into the same difficulty. 

Although fewer women report being uninsured, more women are covered by public insurance such as Medicaid. This may make it more difficult to obtain care because some doctors limit their Medicaid caseloads. 

Across the board, women reported experiencing more barriers to care than men. However, men were less likely to seek care than women. For example, of those who said there was a time they needed mental health care and didn’t get it, 22.4 percent of men said it was because they were concerned about what would happen if someone found out they had a mental health problem – about five percentage points higher than women. Men also reported going to the dentist and getting preventative care less often than women. 

The 2015 CHAS will be released this summer. Data from the survey will help determine if Colorado is getting closer to gender equality when it comes to health.