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Health Care Inequalities between Men and Women

 “A Woman is not a pre-existing condition” This is the slogan that can be seen on a shirt worn by a women at a 2009 health care reform campaign. This week’s topic, which I will be discussing, is: Gender and how it relates to a Health Crisis. In the U.S., there is an on-going debate about healthcare inequality between men and women, specifically that men pay less than women do, on average for identical health care plans (basic plans that do not include maternity care).

Insurance agencies claim that women often pay more than men for similar health care plans, because they use their coverage more. As reported in the New York Times article linked below, “Insurers said they charged women more than men because claims showed that women ages 19 to 55 tended to use more health care services. They are more likely to visit doctors, to get regular checkups, to take prescription drugs and to have certain chronic illnesses.” Essentially, women are being penalized for taking care of their health. Women who take these measures and receive regular check-ups are often preventing catastrophic, expensive to treat diseases from developing.

The difference in rates between men and women can not be explained by maternity costs, and if a women chooses to add this to her plan, has to pay another additional (expensive) fee. “According to CNN New research by the National Women’s Law Center released Monday shows that, in states that have not banned gender rating, 92% of the top plans charge women more — despite the fact that the vast majority of them do not cover maternity services.”

Women are not just being charged more than men, they are being charged significantly more. The average woman pays 30% more than a man purchasing an almost identical package. Some states have taken action to ban gender rating, but 90% of the best selling health care plans still charge women more than men.

 

I would like everyone to take a few minutes and read the following articles, as well as share your thoughts to the questions below.

http://edition.cnn.com/2012/03/20/opinion/greenberger-health-premiums-gender-gap/index.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/19/health/policy/women-still-pay-more-for-health-insurance-data-shows.html?_r=1

 

1.)  Is healthcare inequality between men and women an issue in your country?

2.)  Do you think that there is some legitimacy in women paying more for health care plans?

3.)  Women are often charged 30% more than men for basic health care plans. Although women do utilize the services more, does this warrant such a significant increase in cost?

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts and opinions!

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