Who ever thought you’d be punished for regularly seeing a doctor?
This October 29, 2008 New York Times article discusses the disparity between men’s and women’s individual health insurance rates. The main reason women are paying 30-50% more for individual health insurance than men? “…women use more health care services. They are more likely to visit doctors, to get regular checkups, to take prescription medications and to have certain chronic illnesses.”
SERIOUSLY??? So, we’re essentially punished for regularly seeing a doctor and trying to stay healthy… Great! Not to mention, most of the insurance quotes used as evidence in this article are quotes for insurance policies that don’t even cover maternity care. (Let me reiterate: 30-50% more and that doesn’t even cover maternity care!!!) This tells me that the gap isn’t based on a biological difference between the health care that a woman needs and the health care a man needs, but rather on a sociological difference between how women and men approach caring for their health.
Some critics of the disparity have drawn parallels to race issues. I’m unclear on the actual rules here, but my understanding from the article is that actuaries (the people who determine how risky a person is) are not allowed include race as a risk factor. Doesn’t it immediately follow that they shouldn’t be allowed to use gender? We have clear evidence that certain races/ethnicities are more affected by certain illnesses than others, just as people of a certain gender/nongender are more affected by certain illnesses than others. If we can’t use race a a risk factor, we shouldn’t use gender either.