Discrimination takes place all the time in the world. We may think that it is a thing of the past but it is not. Ask any person who appears ethnically different than the average white male and that person will tell you discrimination is still alive in the US. Even stranger, in my mind as I lived through the 70’s when women were fighting to be equal, is that women of all ethnicities are discriminated against in the US and the discrimination, in some instances, comes from these women’s health insurers.
A recent report that aired on CBS’s The Early Show discussed health insurers and their discriminatory practices against women. Similar to profiling from police agencies, health insurers profile prospective clients. Women seem to profile particularly hard as they tend to use preventative services more than men so are charged more for health insurance.
While you may think that it makes sense to charge more to those who use more services, a closer look needs to be taken. By using preventative services, women tend to be healthier than men. The “big ticket” health issues tend to not occur as often with women as with men. The problem lies in this: by being healthier, women need health insurance longer.
Health insurers tend to look at how frequently a person uses his or her health insurance as opposed to the cost of the services used. A logical look would say that both need to play into some sort of system to figure out premiums. Women tend to be at a disadvantage for health insurance to start with as one in two marriages in the US ends in divorce. Once divorced, a woman is no longer carried on her ex-husband’s health insurance, which still tends to be the norm in the US as oppose to the husband being carried on the wife’s insurance. This situation, a marriage ending puts one out of every two married women looking for health insurance coverage at some point in her life.
Many women, in today’s economy, are turning to owning a small business as the way to make ends meet. Unfortunately, running your own business does not guarantee health insurance. These women, while intelligent and owners of a business that contributes to our economy, must shop for health insurance for themselves. They are faced with the discriminatory practice of charging women higher premiums because they are female.
Women are not a minority in this country. We should all stand up for one another in this particular case of gender profiling and gender rating of insurance. One never knows when she will be the one looking for health insurance.