It underscores that encouraging women to pursue secondary and tertiary education is important for a multitude of reasons, not just for a career, says the study's lead author Roberta Wyn.
“The relationship between education and healthcare coverage is not something that is often discussed. Income is discussed as a factor more often,” Wyn, a women's health expert at UCLA's Center for Health Policy Research, said in an interview.
The paper, released this month, number-crunched data from the 2007 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), the nation's largest state health survey, which conducts periodic phone interviews of more than 50,000 Californians, including adults, teens and kids. This particular study examined health insurance coverage of women in conjunction with a range of factors — age, income, ethnicity, family structure and education.
The findings reinforced results from previous studies — that minorities, women at lower income levels, single women and mothers had a higher likelihood of being uninsured. The relationship between healthcare and education had not previously been explored.
One-quarter of women with a high school diploma lacked healthcare coverage, compared with 11% of college-educated women, the study found.
The situation was even worse for women without even a high school diploma: 42% lacked coverage.
A similar pattern was seen when the authors examined the likelihood that employed women would receive healthcare insurance through their jobs.Sometimes, it seems, even findings that seem crashingly obvious are worth reporting, if only to get the message out. Especially in light of high healthcare costs and our slow-to-recover economy, reminding women that there are ways in which they can better their lot in life is useful.
-- Jessie Schiewe
Photo: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times