Press Release

Women Enrolled in Managed Care Receive More Gender-Specific Preventive Services
Analysis of Landmark Womens Health Survey Provides
New Information on Access, Preventive Services and Satisfaction
with Health Plans
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June 25, 2001 Washington, DC Women enrolled in managed care plans for at least one year have received the same or better access to care than women with fee-for-service plans. Gender-specific preventive services breast examinations, Pap smears and mammograms are more likely to be provided to women enrolled in managed care plans. These are among the findings in "Managed Care and Womens Health: Access, Preventive Services and Satisfaction" by Carol S. Weisman, PhD and Jillian T. Henderson, MPH from the University of Michigan School of Public Health, Department of Health management and Policy.

The paper, published by the Jacobs Institute of Womens Health in the May/June edition of Womens Health Issues, re-examines the Commonwealth Fund 1998 Survey of Womens Health, a leading source of information on the ways that womens circumstances, roles and responsibilities influence their health. The authors assessed insured womens access to care, use of services (particularly preventive and counseling services) and satisfaction with care received. Three types of plans were compared: managed care (health maintenance organizations and preferred provider organizations), fee-for-service with utilization controls and traditional fee-for-service.

"For the first time, researchers have looked at womens experiences in managed care plans. The good news is that women in these plans have the same or better access to care than women in traditional fee-for-service plans," said Weisman. "Unfortunately, women in managed care plans also report lower satisfaction with care than women with other types of insurance."

"The Commonwealth Fund Survey contains a wealth of information, now being published for the first time, regarding the treatment and care of women," said Martha Romans, Executive Director of the Jacobs Institute. "These findings provide information on where women are getting more of the preventive services and counseling that they need."

Additional findings in the published paper include:

  • Women in managed care plans are more likely to report seeing two types of physicians for regular care: a generalist physician and an ob/gyn.
  • Managed care is not associated with higher rates of screening tests that are not specific to women cholesterol test and colon cancer screening or with more counseling services.
  • Women age 40 and older in HMOs/PPOs receive significantly more hormone therapy counseling than other women.
  • Physician counseling on smoking, nutrition, exercise, calcium supplements, alcohol and drug use, sexually transmitted diseases, domestic violence and hormone replacement therapy is reported, overall, by only a minority of insured women.
  • In general, women are most dissatisfied with the quality of communication with their physicians and with the amount of time their physicians spend with them.

Other papers in the May/June edition of Womens Health Issues address: Womens Health Issues Across the Lifespan; The Influence of Income, Education and Work Status on Womens Well Being; Motherhood, Health Status and Health Care; Caregiving: Challenges and Implications for Womens Health; Managed Care and Womens Health: Access, Preventive Services and Satisfaction; Midlife Women Making Hormone Therapy Decisions; Psychological Distress, Unmet Need and Barriers to Mental Health Care for Women and Prevalence of Violence and Its Implications for Womens Health.

Womens Health Issues is the official publication of The Jacobs Institute of Womens Health, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the knowledge, practice and understanding of womens health by making Americas health care system work better for women. For the next few years, the Jacobs Institute is placing an emphasis on managed care, heart disease and menopause cutting edge issues that affect womens health and lives.

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NOTE: Review copies of the articles are available to media from Ridgely Benjamin at 202/371-1999.

For Immediate Release

For more information contact:
Ridgely Benjamin
202/371-1999