Some of the commentators in this news clip make the argument that women should pay more than men for the same health insurance. The argument goes something like this: women need things like mammograms, and pap tests, and their bodies are different, so they should pay more for health insurance.
Does that seem fair?
We did the research and the fact is that women are charged more for health coverage simply because they are women. In states that have not prohibited the practice of “gender rating” the vast majority of plans in the individual market charge women more. In fact, 92%, of best-selling plans in the individual market gender rate—for example, charging 40-year-old women more than 40-year-old men for coverage. What’s more is that health plans often exclude coverage for services that only women need, like maternity care. So women are buying coverage that does not cover all their health care needs and paying more than men for that coverage. And, they are not just paying a little more; they are paying a lot more. Gender rating costs women approximately $1 billion a year.
Does that seem fair?
Yes, women access more preventive services, as the commentators point out. But shouldn’t all of us get the preventive care we need to get and stay healthy? Why should women be discriminated against for simply going to the doctor?
Furthermore, our research shows a wide variation in the differences women are charged both within and across states—even with maternity care excluded. For example, one plan examined in Arkansas charges 25-year-old women 81% more than men for coverage while a similar plan in the same state only charges women 10% more for coverage than men. Neither plan covers maternity care. It’s hard to justify or explain that variation.
Fortunately, starting soon in January 2014, this unfair and discriminatory practice ends.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) women cannot be charged more than men for the same health insurance. Finally. Now, that seems fair to us!