Insurers charge women $1B more than men

Insurers charge women $1 billion more in health insurance costs than men, according to a report released Monday by the National Women's Law Center (NWLC). Although the health reform law will prohibit this gender-rating practice, the report found that insurers haven't taken any steps to help reduce the discrepancies, according to The New York Times. In fact, more than 90 percent of the best-selling health plans charge women more than men. Humana, for example, charges a 40-year-old nonsmoking woman $196 a month, that is, 53 percent more than the $128 it charges a 40-year-old nonsmoking man.

Insurers claim they gender rate policies because women ages 19 to 55 use more healthcare services, including doctor visits, prescription medications and treatments for chronic illnesses, than men. However, NWLC President Marcia Greenberger said insurers' gender rating justification is "highly questionable" because disparities vary greatly among insurers. "In Arkansas, for example, one health plan charges 25-year-old women 81 percent more than men, while a similar plan in the same state charges women only 10 percent more," she told the Times. Article