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.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 10:10 AM