Health Care’s Pink Tax

By: Anneken Tappe · September 27, 2023 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

Beyond Maternity

Employed women in the U.S. faced 20% higher out-of-pocket health care expenses than men in 2021, according to a recent Deloitte report.

Even with maternity and pregnancy costs excluded, the eye-popping figure only decreased to 18%, suggesting solutions to closing this gap must extend beyond simply addressing maternal care.

The Pink Tax

The report also showed women aged 19 to 64 face $15.4 billion in additional health care costs each year. This shakes out to $266 per woman in the nation, showing that the “pink tax”, a gender-based markup, is alive and well in health care.

The pink tax is the premium women pay for products tailored to them. Products targeted at women are often taxed as luxury items, while products targeted at men typically are not.

Deloitte’s report identified contributing factors such as the cost of breast cancer screening and scans, as well as more frequent doctor’s visits for gynecological and menopausal care.

Seeking Solutions

In more developed countries, women generally outlive men by 4 to 7 years. But higher rates of chronic conditions and specific health needs also compel women to schedule more doctor visits than men. For insurers – and employers who offer health insurance – this means not every adult has the same healthcare needs.

Don’t forget to consider your unique situation and health needs when selecting your health insurance plan.

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