Do women pay more for health insurance?

According to the New York Times, information gathered by insurance companies and online brokers shows women pay significantly higher rates for health insurance than men of the same age, purchasing the same coverage. Some insurers are claiming that the cost increase is relative to the amount of health care used by women ages 19 to 55, "especially during the childbearing years."

However, women still appear to be paying more, maternity care or not. The Times notes that in Columbus, Ohio, when comparing the coverage from Anthem's Blue Access Economy plan that a man receives versus a woman, the woman pays almost 50 percent more. Humana's Portrait plan costs 31 percent more for a 30-year-old woman in Denver and Chicago than a man of the same age in the same city.

"The wide variation in premiums could not possibly be justified by actuarial principles," said Marcia D. Greenberger, co-president of the National Women's Law Center. "We should not tolerate women having to pay more for health insurance, just as we do not tolerate the practice of using race as a factor in setting rates."

For more on this story:
- read the full New York Times article