Saturday, November 1, 2008

Women Pay More For Health Insurance

With Sarah Palin running for the second highest office in the Country, you would think women have finally made it. Before we get too complacent and think there is equality between men and women, we must keep in mind that the full time working woman's average pay is still only 77% of her male counterpart.

Now I found out that women pay MUCH MORE than men of the same age for individual, identical insurance policies. At a time when our economy is in the tank and people are out there looking for individual health insurance because they have lost their job, it is shocking to find out that women are charged as much as 49% more than a man for the same policy. Even high deductible plans are a disadvantage for women and there is no actuarial explanation for it. Does being born with a uterus count as a preexisting condition?

Proponents (if there are any that are not in the insurance biz) of these inequities would say that women utilize more health care than men. Women go to the doctor more and use services in childbirth. So, as a society, we are penalizing women for preventive health care and for bearing the future citizens of the world. I guess we are rewarding men for dying sooner and getting the hell off the planet and off the insurance rolls. There's nothing like a dead policy holder to increase profits!!!

If the claim that women use more services in childbirth and should pay more is true...then why penalize women who never have children or who have had a hysterectomy? Why are they paying more when men are not? The entire scheme makes no sense and all you need to do is check the profit margins of the nations top insurers, as well as the executive compensation, and it is obvious that they charge women more BECAUSE THEY CAN!

And what a surprise to read in today's New York Times that women pay more for home mortgages too. Women are 32% more likely to carry mortgages at higher interest rates than men with similar incomes. The article points out that wealthier women were 50% more likely to carry expensive loans than their male counterparts.

I used to be pissed that I paid more for my shirts to be laundered than a man does. Boy is that the tip of the iceberg. Women need to learn the methods of negotiation and standing up for themselves and their pay rate. Kudos to the NYT for shining a light on these inequities and women also need to be aware that nothing will change by itself. It takes knowledge, activism and supporting each other in the workplace.


Anonymous said...

Outrageous. I am speechless. Thanks for being a voice.

Anonymous said...

While I'm a woman, and not happy about paying more, it's simple math. If it costs more for my health insurance because I live longer, then I'm the one benefitting from the insurance, aren't I? If I'm a greater loan risk, then I should expect to have to pay more interest. And while it's true that women average higher interest rates on loans than men, it's not simply because they are women. It's because they generally don't have their jobs as long, because they (on average) have less education than men, thus landing less lucrative jobs, and then they applying for loans that are percentagewise, comparative to their salary, greater than their male counterparts.

I am a woman who makes more than most men, and I had no trouble whatsoever getting an extremely low interest rate on my house....and that's because I, as an individual, have proven myself to be a low risk...not because of my demographic.

With health insurance, that's another issue entirely. Aside from living longer, and having babies, we also have more internal problems due to our plumbing. We generally go to the doctor much more often than men, and, therefore are finding more medical problems that cost money. If you were an insurance company, could you insure a woman for the same as a man?...I presume you could, if you overcharge the man. And, then, men would find the cost of insurance to be too pricey for what they need it for, and then they wouldn't buy it....hmmmm...