Is Being a Woman a Pre-existing Condition?

Report says insurance companies charge women more for same coverage

Monday, October 26, 2009

The National Women's Law Center released a sobering analysis of private insurance companies this month called "Still Nowhere to Turn: Insurance Companies Treat Women Like a Pre-Existing Condition." The report includes data that show that even without childbirth coverage, women pay from 10 to 50 percent more than men for the same insurance. We're joined by Judy Waxman, vice president of the National Women's Law Center.

“We don’t charge different premiums for people of different races anymore, and it’s time that we didn’t charge different rates for gender."
—Judy Waxman, vice president of the National Women's Law Center, on health insurance companies and gender inequality in premiums


Judy Waxman

Comments [4]


Unfortunately it's usually assumed that if you are female, you WILL procreate, regardless of any protestations to the contrary about your intentions. (And unfortunately, if you are female and sexually active with a male and haven't had a hysterectomy and/or oophorectomy, you can't assume, regardless of your birth control method, that it will NOT fail and that there is no chance you will be pregnant some day--you always have to have that possibility in the back of your mind. Can we get some better birth control and better access to and education about it??)

Being as "woman" and "mother" are usually considered to be practically the same thing in our society, it's no wonder all women have to pay more for health insurance--everyone assumes we'll be popping out babies left and right.

Oct. 27 2009 09:30 AM

Since my insurance paid for my sterilization, will they now no longer charge me and my employer for pregnancy coverage?

Oct. 27 2009 09:08 AM

Waxman dismisses the idea that health care costs might be higher for women, in her own words, based on no scientific evidence. Apparently she just doesn't think that's how things SHOULD be.

And smokers and fat people think it's unfair to charge them more, too.

Too bad The Takeaway didn't do a little more homework and see what the facts are about women's health care costs.

Insurance underwriting is about setting premiums based on the likelihood of claims. Profiling is not politically correct but what other way is there? Older people get sick more so rates go up as one ages. Is that fair? Blacks are at higher risk for certain medical conditions but they have lobbyists so laws got passed and they can't be charged more. Is that fair either?

Then again, life is not fair.

Oct. 26 2009 05:38 PM
Richard Johnston

Once we start adjusting rates and availability of insurance according to supposed risk we are ruined. Men no doubt are more likely to get hurt driving drunk, more likely to be infected with HIV, more likely to be injured in hunting accidents, shall we go on? The risk avoidance mechanisms that parade as "insurance" companies pick and choose their targets irrationally, just another reason to do away with them.

Oct. 26 2009 09:14 AM

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