In 2002, the majority of both women’s and men’s health care expenses were covered by public or private health insurance. For women, approximately one-third of expenses were covered by either Medicare or Medicaid, while just over 40 percent were covered by private insurance. Although the percentage of expenditures paid through private insurance was approximately equal for women and men, women’s health care costs were more likely than men’s to be paid by Medicaid or out of pocket.

Ninety percent of females had at least one health care expenditure in 2002, compared to 80 percent of males. Among those who had at least one health care expense in 2002, the average per-person expenditure was higher for females ($3,461) than for males ($3,116). However, men’s expenditures exceeded women’s for hospital inpatient services ($14,221 compared to $10,371), home health services, and hospital outpatient services, while women’s expenditures exceeded men’s in the categories of office-based medical services and prescription drugs.

While the gender gap in health care expenditures has narrowed somewhat since 1998, overall per-capita health care expenditures have increased substantially among both men and women. Men’s expenses have increased 46 percent over this period while women’s have gone up 28 percent.

Graph: Health Care Expenses by Source of Payment and Sex[d]

Graph: Annual Mean Health Care Expenses for Persons with an Expense by Sex and Category of Service[d]