Unable to See Doctor Due to Cost

Data highlight

Oklahoma ranks 46 (of 50, including D.C. — Florida did not report numbers) for the percentage of women who avoided seeing a doctor due to cost. Texas reported the highest rate at 15.6%, while Vermont reported the lowest at 5.0% [1].


The percent of women who reported avoiding seeing a doctor within the last 12 months  due to cost concerns in 2021

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This indicator shows how many women were deterred from seeing a doctor due to cost despite their insurance status. 

What is covered and the out-of-pocket expenses associated with healthcare coverage varies widely. A woman with a “catastrophic plan” is counted as insured but may not seek routine care due to the plan’s high deductible.

Why we care

It is unsurprising that Oklahoma has a high percentage of women who avoid a doctor due to the cost. Healthcare is expensive in our state and our uninsured rate remains high. 

Many Oklahomans are forced to go into debt in order to receive life-saving care. As of 2021, we rank 49th on the number of residents with medical debt (this data was reported in 2021) [2]. Due to higher premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses, medical debt is growing even amongst insured people. 

Most women nationally (60%) receive health insurance through their employer [3]. However, the out-of-pocket costs associated with employer-sponsored insurance have increased over the last decade. Despite coverage, 3.9% of women indicated their healthcare was unaffordable [4]. 

Women also spend 6.8% of their pretax income on healthcare, almost double that of men. That figure jumps to 20.7% of pretax income towards health insurance alone for single women making under $15,000 annually [5]. Rising insurance costs are coupled with women earning less than their male counterparts, as well as general wage stagnation.


Much of the data featured in this indicator was released and aggregated during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The trend of women in Oklahoma and the U.S. more broadly not seeking a doctor mirrors the same steep decline in 2021 compared to data starting in 2013. The state of emergency during the pandemic expanded the qualifications for government programs like unemployment insurance and Medicaid (SoonerCare). The expansion may have allowed new enrollees to see a physician they wouldn’t have otherwise seen. Further, caution associated with COVID-19 feasibly lowered the threshold for individuals who were previously reluctant. Understanding the context and how COVID-19 has influenced the reporting is vital.

What we can do:

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