It’s a question that’s been asked repeatedly since the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010.
As of November, the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that a woman in the first-tier health plan group who’s not a man would have the same health care access as a woman, even though that’s a narrower pool than the overall population.
But as the ACA has expanded, so have the numbers.
Since 2010, the total number of women in that group has increased by more than 1.4 million.
The number of men in that plan has increased more than 775,000.
The largest increase has been in the plans in the top two tiers of the market, where the share of men has increased from 22.5 percent to 27.4 percent.
Among the groups covered by the health plans, the gender gap has widened most dramatically in the individual market, according to the Kaiser analysis.
The top four male-only plans are the two plans that currently have the most health care coverage for women.
And the three plans with the smallest male-to-female gaps are the three that are now being phased out.
The Kaiser analysis also found that the percentage of women who were in plans with male-focused policies in 2015, when the ACA went into effect, was at a record low, just 0.3 percent.
For women in those plans, that percentage dropped to just 0,2 percent in 2016, according the Kaiser data.
But the gender gaps were wider in 2017 than in 2016.
Women in those groups have had the best chance to gain coverage in those three years, with more than 75 percent of women getting coverage, according a Kaiser analysis that covers all the plans offered through the exchanges.
In 2020, they were less than 50 percent, but were now up to 56 percent, the study found.
Among plans in that second group, the gap has increased most significantly in the plan in which the youngest enrollee, who is now under age 25, is enrolled.
The median age of the youngest individual enrollee has increased for the first time since 2014.
Among older enrollees, the median age has increased in each of the past five years.
There’s also a large difference in age between women and men, with a median age for women at the end of 2020 at 39.5 years, compared to 39.8 for men.
Overall, the overall percentage of men and women in the health plan pool has remained essentially the same, the analysis found.
But there have been notable shifts in the size of those gender gaps over time.
The share of women with coverage rose from 19.5 to 25.6 percent, while the share with coverage in the group with the oldest enrollee declined from 11.3 to 7.6.
Overall enrollment has also grown more slowly for the male-centric plans, as has the overall proportion of plans that are female-centric.
For instance, the share in the third-tier group with an older enrollee increased from 20.1 percent to 25 percent over the last five years, but the share among the older enrolle increased only slightly.
And while the overall share of plans with coverage for a woman has increased, the percentage with coverage has fallen slightly.
In the third tier of plans, women have had about a 30 percent greater chance to have coverage than men, but that gap narrowed to 21.5 percentage points in 2019, according for the Kaiser study.
There are also differences in the characteristics of women and the types of plans they have.
The average age of women has increased significantly since 2014, the last year for which the data is available.
And women who are not in plans have been more likely to have health care costs covered.
The age-adjusted average cost of a woman’s plan has also increased more slowly, the data shows.
And for women in plans where a plan is based on gender, that trend has been the opposite of the trend for men, the report found.
There is also a gender gap in access to care for certain types of conditions.
Women are more likely than men to have received preventive care and have been at a higher risk for certain chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Women have also had higher rates of getting prescriptions for certain medications, which could have an impact on coverage and quality of care.
But women who have a pre-existing condition are less likely to be covered, the researchers found.
The findings are based on a Kaiser Health Tracking Survey that surveyed 2,000 adults between March and October.
The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
The analysis was provided by the Kaiser Health tracking team.