Archive for the ‘Health Care’ category

Stop Stupak!

December 2, 2009

Today is the National Day of Action against the Stupak-Pitts Amendment.

If you’re not in DC today there are still plenty of ways you can get involved and make your voice heard. Here are some ways to take action:

  • Sign the petition at StopStupak.com
  • Call your Senators to voice your opposition to anti-choice amendments. You can reach them at 1-888-423-5983.
  • Participate in an action or other event in your state.
  • Use social networking sites for social change – use Facebook and Twitter to inspire your friends to take action.

Please do everything you can to stop this step back in women’s rights!

Women Pay More for the Same Health Care Men Recieve

December 2, 2009

There is a widespread gap in health insurance costs for men and women. Insurers on average can charge women up to 140% more than men for the same health plans. It’s not enough that women have to spend money on makeup, hair products (though some men use those products) birth control, and tampons- but we have to pay more to even stay alive!

Some insurers charge women as much as 50% more, while employers pay more per individual in their group health plans if their workforce is predominately women. This is a system known as “gender rating”, and it is one of the main reasons why health care reform is so important.

Women are charged for child-bearing costs in their individual insurance policies even though most policies have maternity costs added on as an extra expense already. Only 13% of health plans in the United States give maternity coverage to a 30 year-old woman. Women are literally charged for having female sexual organs. Women are also rejected if they have been a victim of domestic violence, are pregnant, or who have previously had a Cesarean section. The National Women’s Law Center’s 2009 study “Still Nowhere to Turn” even found that non-smoking women pay more for health insurance coverage than male smokers!

Among the insurers that use “gender rating” the majority of them charge women more until they reach the age of 55, and some (like Aetna) charge men more after that. But since men have shorter lives than women, it’s unfair that they should start to pay more at the age of 55 when they’re nearing the end of their lives. Women have to pay more than men for 55 years and then they have to pay the normal price for 20 years or more.

There have been some efforts to change this thankfully- but there hasn’t been nearly enough. In April 2009, Arkansas passed a law expressly prohibiting health insurance companies from using a woman’s status as a domestic violence survivor to deny coverage. In October 2009, California became the eleventh state to ban gender rating in the individual health insurance market. It’s a nice start but there’s still a lot of work to be done.

The only way to fix these problems is to make insurance available to all and to reform health insurance. Hopefully, Congress won’t pass up the chance to reform health care so it can be available to all people- regardless of gender.

My Sources:

Bust Magazine Feb\March 2009

Ms. Magazine Fall 2009

The National Women’s Law Center “Still Nowhere to Turn” http://www.nwlc.org/pdf/stillnowheretoturn.pdf

Aetna http://www.aetna.com/about/aoti/aetna_perspective/roleofgender.html