Want Cheap(er) Health Care? Be Young and Male

Kim Conte
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women sign pillsDid you know that women typically pay more than men for health care?

In most states, insurers charge women anywhere from four to 48 percent more than men of the same age. Insurers say this is because women use more health care services than men, and because any women of childbearing age could become pregnant.

Sound unfair?

Well, the practice of charging women more for health care could be eliminated under the new health care bill.

Under the new health care legislation (currently before Congress), gender-based differentials (higher premiums for women compared to men) would be eliminated. Lawmakers' reason for this is that charging women more because they have the "potential to get pregnant" is discriminatory.

But what about charging older people more than younger people (which most states also do)? Is that not discriminatory, too?

Apparently not. The new legislation will not end the practice of age rating (charging older people more). In fact, under the new bill, older Americans may pay anywhere from two to four times more what younger Americans will pay. Lawmakers argue this is not discriminatory because there is conclusive data showing that older people consume more health care than younger people.

The lesson here? It pays to be young and male (at least as far as our health insurance rates are concerned).

What do you think about this? Is it discriminatory to charge women more than men? Is it discriminatory to charge older people more than younger people?

 

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