Gender, Income, and Education Differences

Gender Differences

While most issues showed remarkable uniformity between men and women, there were some areas in which differences between the sexes were notable.

  • Women are more likely than men to indicate that the current health care system needs major changes (64 percent v. 53 percent). Women strongly support requiring employers to offer health insurance to their employees as a means of covering the uninsured (83 percent v. 71 percent of men).
  • Women are less likely to receive health insurance from their employer (40 percent v. 55 percent for men); however, they are more likely to receive coverage from a spouse's employer (22 percent v. 8 percent).
  • Women express higher levels of satisfaction with nearly all aspects of the health care they have received in the past 2 years. In general, one-half of women are extremely or very satisfied (50 percent), compared with 42 percent of men.

Income and Education Differences

  • Americans with higher incomes tend to report more satisfaction with treatments and care they have received in the past 2 years. For example, 52 percent of those with annual household incomes of $50,000 or more are satisfied with the care they received, compared with 39 percent satisfied among those with less than $30,000 income. In addition, high-income individuals express more confidence than those with low incomes that in the next 10 years they will have access to quality health care and be able to afford it.
  • College graduates and Americans with annual incomes of $30,000 or more are more likely to have health insurance, to receive that insurance from an employer, and to indicate that they are offered a choice of plans.
  • Wealthy and highly educated respondents identify themselves as currently in managed care in higher proportions than those who are less educated and have lower incomes. Wealthy and highly educated respondents also give high marks to managed care health plans for their cost and access to preventive care.
  • Those with lower education and income levels are the most likely to believe they have never been in a managed care plan and to report they are not familiar with managed care. Those without a college degree are more likely to say their opinions about managed care are based on what they've gathered from the media (33 percent v. 20 percent of college educated respondents).
  • Americans with the lowest confidence that Medicare will continue to provide benefits equal to those received by retirees today are middle and high income Americans (59 percent of those with incomes of $30,000 or more are not confident, compared with 43 percent of those with lower income) and those who have had education beyond high school (57 percent, compared with 45 percent of high school graduates).

Source: 1998 Health Confidence Survey.