New Ipsos Survey Reveals Nearly Half of American Women Forgo Preventive Care Services

Survey highlights disparities in women’s experiences accessing preventive healthcare 

Tuesday, January 31, 2023 (Washington, DC) — A new Ipsos poll commissioned by the Alliance for Women’s Health and Prevention (AWHP) reveals that nearly half of American women (45%) are forgoing preventive care services like check-ups, screenings, and vaccines, and the inability to afford out-of-pocket costs is the most common reason women cite for skipping this critical care. The survey of 3,204 women looked at women’s experiences with preventive healthcare, the challenges they face accessing it and the disparities that exist.  

“The survey results emphasize the need to raise awareness about the importance of preventive care and advocate for policies that address the barriers and burdens women too often face,” said Millicent Gorham, Chair of the Board of Directors of AWHP. “At the same time, the research also underscores the importance of organizations like AWHP advocating for equitable, accessible and affordable preventive care for all women and girls.”  

Challenges with Preventive Care  

The survey finds that nearly half of American women (45%) have forgone preventive care services like check-ups, tests, treatments and vaccines in the last year. When asked why, women cite not being able to afford out-of-pocket costs (25%) and limited time to schedule appointments (23%) as the top reasons. 

Q: In the past 12 months have you experienced any of the following?  
Skipped preventive health services, such as a yearly check-up or routine test 22% 
Skipped a recommended medical test or treatment 14% 
Did not get a vaccine recommended by a health care professional 22% 
Couldn’t get an appointment with a primary care physician (PCP) 12% 
Couldn’t get an appointment with an OBGYN 6% 
Couldn’t get an appointment for a health screening/diagnostic test 4% 
Experience any of the above 45% 

Preventive care like well visits, screenings and vaccines reduce the risk for disease and help support healthy lives. Women have unique needs from men, and therefore have a different set of recommended preventive services including screenings for cervical cancer, breast cancer and bone density scans.  

Disparities in Cervical Cancer Screenings  

Most women have received a cervical cancer screening at some point in their lives, 
but disparities based on race and income persist. Screenings are vital because they can help prevent cervical cancer by detecting changes in the cervix before cancer begins or when cancer is in its early stages.  

Three out of four women (76%) have received a cervical cancer screening at some point in their lifetime, however white women are more likely to have received a cervical cancer screening (81%) than Black women (65%), Asian women (66%), and Hispanic women (68%). Further, women who are insured (79%) are more likely to have received a screening than uninsured women (51%). Additionally, Medicaid patients were less likely to have received a screening than those with other insurance.  

The disparities in screenings only underscore and exacerbate the disparities in cervical cancer. Hispanic women have the highest rates of new cervical cancer and Black women are more likely to die from the cancer.  

The data highlights the importance of patient-provider relationships and insurance coverage in increasing screenings: 

  • 72% of women are likely to get a cervical cancer screening if it is recommended by their provider; and, 
  • Only 34% are likely to get a cervical cancer screening if it is not covered by their insurance 

“As we close out Cervical Health Awareness Month, it is crucial we learn from these data showcasing major gaps in cervical cancer screenings,” said Haywood Brown, MD, Member of the Board of Directors of AWHP. “We must take action to ensure all women, regardless of who they are and where they live, routinely see an OBGYN and receive screenings for cervical cancer.”  

Preventive Care Guidelines  

The survey underscores how insurance coverage and out-of-pocket costs are critical to how and when women access preventive care. Women want guidelines that help determine insurance coverage of preventive care and services to prioritize affordability, early detection, patient-provider decision making and health equity impacts.  

  • 91% say it’s important to prioritize ensuring providers can make best choice for patients based on unique needs 
  • 91% say it’s important to prioritize ensuring comprehensive preventive care and screening is affordable 
  • 90% say it’s important to prioritize allowing for the earliest possible detection of disease through the most robust testing 
  • 90% say it’s important to prioritize encouraging conversations between patients and providers and shared decision making 
  • 89% say it’s important to prioritize removing barriers to care, not make it more difficult for women to get screenings 
  • 87% say it’s important to prioritize ensuring there isn’t a negative impact on health equity 
  • 84% say it’s important to prioritize considering the needs and lived experiences of all women by examining the potential impact on different races and populations 

About the Survey  

This Alliance for Women’s Health and Prevention (AWHP)/Ipsos Poll was conducted online from November 18 – December 8, 2022 by Ipsos. This poll is based on a national sample of 3,204 female adults (age 18 or older), combining a sample from the probability-based KnowledgePanel® (n=1,138) and a non-probability sample (n=2,066).  

The study was conducted in both English and Spanish. The data were weighted to adjust for age, race/ethnicity, education, Census region by metropolitan status, household income, and language dominance among Hispanics. The demographic benchmarks for women ages 18 and older in the US came from the 2022 March Supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS), with the exception of the language dominance benchmarks which were obtained from the 2021 American Community Survey (ACS). The weighting categories were as follows: 

  • Age (18-29, 30-44, 45-59, 60+)  
  • Race/Hispanic ethnicity (White/Non-Hispanic, Black/Non-Hispanic, Other/Non-Hispanic, Hispanic, 2+ Races/Non-Hispanic) 
  • Education (Less than High School, High School, Some College, Bachelor and higher)  
  • Census Region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West) by Metropolitan Area (Yes, No)  
  • Household Income (Under $25K, $25K-$49,999, $50K-$74,999, $75K-$99,999, $100K-$149,999, $150K and over)  
  • Language Dominance among Hispanics (English Dominant Hispanic, Bilingual Hispanic, Spanish Dominant Hispanic, Non-Hispanic) 

This survey was partially conducted using the Ipsos KnowledgePanel, the most well-established online probability-based panel that is representative of the adult US population. Panelists are recruited into this invitation-only panel via postal mailings to a random selection of residential addresses. To ensure that non-internet households are included, Ipsos provides an internet-enabled tablet to those who need them. Additional sample was obtained using a non-probability sample with a quota design to increase the overall study sample size and allow for analyses of subpopulation groups of interest. 

Additional weighting adjustments were made using Ipsos’s proprietary calibration approach, which weighted respondents from the non-probability sample to benchmarks from the weighted KnowledgePanel sample based on the categories below. These additional adjustments are designed to reduce the bias known to be associated with non-probability samples that are not addressed with standard geodemographic weighting.  

  • Daily Television Consumption (< 3 hours/day, 3+ hours/day) 
  • Weekly Internet Personal Usage (< 10 hours/week, 10+ hours/week) 
  • Willingness To Express Political/Community Opinions Online (Less than once a month or more often, Not at all) 
  • Willingness To Try New Products (Not at all/Somewhat, A lot/Completely) 

The topline results from the survey can be accessed here. 


The Alliance for Women’s Health and Prevention is a non-partisan 501(c)(4) non-profit organization working to ensure that all women and girls have access to high-quality preventive care. Our mission is to advance policy that drives equitable access and prevents the burden and progression of disease to improve the lives and health of all women and girls.    

For more information, please visit and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter @AWHPOrg

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