[Update - US Department of Health and Human Services website is now healthcare.gov]
The Affordable Care Act, before the Supreme Court this week, includes partial elimination for “gender rating”, a practice that costs women $1 billion a year. According to statistics, women between the ages of 19 to 55 tend to use more health care services than men of the same age. They are more likely to visit doctors for regular checkups, have certain chronic illnesses and take prescription drugs.
Because of this, women have long paid higher prices for health coverage than their male counterparts. According to healthreform.gov, a website managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a 22 year old woman can be charged one and a half times the premium of a 22 year old man in the individual insurance market. More than half of American women reported delaying or avoiding needed care because of cost, compared with 39% of men who reported the same.
The Affordable Care Act or ACA will prohibit certain cases of gender rating, namely for individuals seeking medical coverage and employers with fewer than 100 employees. Supporters of the ACA claim that comprehensive health care coverage will level the playing field, making health care costs available and affordable for all women. Fourteen states have begun measures to ban gender rating without the implementation of the ACA.
Since women are less likely to get health insurance through their work than men, the ban on gender rating for individuals is important. Many states currently allow insurance companies to take an individual’s gender into account when calculating premiums. Furthermore, a survey by the National Women’s Law Center found that the vast majority of insurance policies on the individual market did not cover maternity care. Under the ACA, maternity care will be considered an essential health benefit that plans will be required to cover. Pregnancy will no longer be considered a “pre-existing condition” under the act.
Abortion has been one of the major issues during the health care reform debates. Insurance coverage of abortion at the federal level has not been banned, however the ACA explicitly allows states to ban private insurance coverage of abortion. Currently 14 states (Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia) have laws prohibiting the coverage of abortion in state insurance exchanges to the ACA. According to the NWLC, “Since most insurance plans cover abortion, bans on insurance coverage of abortion represent a radical departure from the status quo that will result in women losing benefits they currently have.”
Health care equality for women is an issue that requires reform no matter what the decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Whether or not the act is a necessary component to promoting these changes is yet to be seen.
Join the discussion Please be relevant and respectful.
Many of our school aged girls were being forced to have injections to possibly partially protect them against the possibility of a few STD's. Not one of the politicians, insurance companies or Pharma's fought to have these drugs (with no long term studies) injected into the young make populace.
Politico's, Insurance and Pharma support Viagra for any male who desires it. Yet most women have limited access to basic testing (pap, mamo's etc.) or birth control.
The insurance companies, politicians and Big pharma are biased. Gender rating is wrong.
I agree with charging you more for Insurance if you choose to smoke, eat fatty foods and gain weight ....or continue to make poor "health"descisions. Charge more for Car Ins. if you choose to drive offensively instead of making better driving descisions,............... but not because I have to get a pap-smear every year, or a mamogram, or heaven forbid I have a child (with a sperm from a male of course)....We already are either forced or preasured to pay for "womenly items" men dont neccesarily have to pay for every month/year including our co-pays......and it is not our fault we cannot always convince you guys to go to the Doctor when you really need to. Heck, we are the ones that will more than likely to take care of you guys when you do get ill! Try convincing one of your buddys to do that!....Same price health care is only fair!
health care equality is not the issue, men and women are different! i am a 55 year old woman and yes i need different things from the doctor than my husband does. affordable care act is a joke - i'm now paying for other people to have their grown kids on their policy. i dont have any any kids younger than 30 but my insurance went up $45 per month.... wait until it really hits and everybody understands that they MUST purchase health care insurance - WHETHER THEY WANT TO OR NOT. AND IT ISN'T FREE
If women use more of a service than men, then charging them more isn't a gender equality issue. They aren't being charged more because insurance companies are sexist, but because they use more of the service. Men are charged more for car insurance premiums because they are more likely to use that service, but I've never once in my life insinuated that this situation is sexist or needs to be forcibly banned by an intervening Washington regulatory bureaucracy. If a movement were afoot to ban gender rating by car insurance companies, even though it would actually lower my premiums, I would oppose it (and probably make fun of the men who were complaining about "gender inequality" in car insurance policies).
By asserting that men just don't go to the doctor enough, even though it might be in their best interests (which i agree is very often true), you're pointing out that the difference in price is actually a discount that men receive for consuming less than is available to them. So, although women may look longingly at the lower rates men pay, if the act passes they won't get those prices because if everyone paid that much, costs wouldn't be covered. What would happen is that women would pay somewhere between slightly less and no less than now, and men would pay far more than present
It's not fair if you use more of the service. You should pay for what you use. If you eat 30% more than your husband, shouldn't you pay 30% more for food?