Being a woman doesn’t come cheap


Dolly Parton once said, "It costs a lot of money to look this cheap." Well, it turns out that simply being born female can be pretty expensive – not even factoring in the cost of breast implants and patent leather stilettos favored by the country star.

In fact, a large portion of the lifetime cost of being a woman stems from healthcare costs – ranging from everyday procedures like bunion surgery and preventive screenings, to major expenditures like long-term care. An article in AOL's Daily Finance section broke down the factors that contribute to a higher cost of living for females.

Longer lives, more healthcare

It's pretty well known that women live longer than men, and while the fact is a minor victory for the ladies, it also contributes to much higher healthcare costs during retirement. AOL estimates that women will need about $200,000 more than men in old age to cover the costs of living.

Moreover, health insurance for females is significantly higher than it is for men. According to the news source, the average woman spends about 30 percent more on healthcare coverage than her male counterpart, amounting to a whopping $44,000 during the time between college and Medicare eligibility.

The National Women's Law Center (NWLC) recently released a report titled Turning to Fairness: Insurance Discrimination Against Women Today and the Affordable Care Act. In it, the organization calls the disparity between insurance pricing in men and women "unfair" and "discriminatory." The NWLC stated that 92 percent of the most commonly used insurance companies in the U.S. practice gender rating, in which sex is a determinant in cost, usually resulting in higher expenditures for women.

Fight back with prevention

The report from the women's advocacy group went on to say that certain inequities may be alleviated once the Affordable Care Act goes into full effect in 2014.

In the meantime, ladies may be able to lower their healthcare bills through preventive medicine. Obtaining recommended screenings for breast cancer, cervical cancer, high blood pressure and sexually transmitted diseases – among other conditions – may result in more efficient treatment of certain illnesses, as those that are caught early on are typically easier to cure or get under control.

Take bunion correction, for example: Using a simple bunion splint in the evening and orthotics during the day may help keep the bony deformity in check, potentially preventing bunion surgery, which costs in the ballpark of $4,000, according to Healthcare Blue Book.