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Thank Your Uterus? Women Pay More For Health Insurance

Affordable healthcare should be of particular importance to women this election season, as new insurance-company data dissected in today's New York Times reveals that women pay much more than men of the same age for individual insurance policies providing the same coverage.

When women (who have lost their jobs or do not receive employer-based insurance) shop for an individual plan, they are offered higher premiums than men. Insurance companies explain that this makes total sense because women 19-55 years old cost more, for reasons such as childbirth. However, even women without maternity coverage get charged higher rates. To see why,


Perhaps this is because statistics also show that women visit doctors, take prescription medicine, and suffer chronic illnesses more often than men. These disparities mean women pay hundreds of dollars more each year, sometimes as much as 50 percent more than men.

Federal antidiscrimination law prohibits employers from charging women higher premiums for the same benefits, and congress has begun investigating the discrepancy on the private market. Should a healthy woman have to pay more because other people of her gender go to the doctor more or decide to have children? Should a uterus count as a preexisting condition?


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