Health Insurers Are Charging You More for Being a Woman

hundred dollar billsWe all know this country has a serious problem when it comes to health insurance. But did you know that women are bearing the brunt of the problem to a significantly higher degree? Consider the issue of health coverage gender bias, by the numbers, according to a new report from Prevention magazine:

  • In 37 states, it's legal to deny us health insurance because we're women.
  • 95 percent of insurance companies that sell individual health care plans practice something called "gender rating," or gender-related denials.
  • Women end up paying 84 percent more than men for coverage.

In other words, we're being royally screwed and discriminated against by health insurance companies, and until the Affordable Health Care Act goes into effect in 2014, these glaring inequalities will be perfectly legal. Shocked? Enraged? You should be!


A'course, health insurers aren't required to explain why they deny any applicant ever, but when they've been confronted with the question of how they can possibly deny women for the "preexisting condition" of basically being a woman, they say they're just "practicing good business." Because see, women use health care more often, seeing our docs earlier and at younger ages than men. We like to, I don't know, take care of ourselves or something crazy like that! And apparently, health insurers don't like to have to pay for all those "silly," preventative doctors visits ... even if they save them money in the long-run!

Think about it -- as one of the experts who was on CBS discussing the report put it, it's a lot cheaper to pay for annual exams than a quadruple bypass that occurs as a result of skipping 'em. Treating stage 1 cancer is a lot cheaper than the treatment for stage 4. So, you would think we ladies would get a DISCOUNT for attempting to catch diseases (like breast cancer) earlier and having preventative procedures (like mammos) that aim for early detection and early treatment. But, noooo. It's the opposite.

Thankfully, we can fight back. The folks at Prevention recommend shopping around for different health insurance to prove you won't put up with being charged more for being a woman. If you're denied or you can't afford insurance, that may seem like a difficult battle to wage. But you can still fight by voting for state representatives and politicians who support health care reform (the Affordable Health Care Act), because as long as that legislation remains in tact, this gross, sexist injustice will hopefully become a thing of the past.

Are you surprised women pay so much more for health insurance? How do you plan to fight back?


Image via David Beyer/Flickr

Read More >