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Women pay far more for health insurance

Congress has mined insurance industry data and learned that women pay far more for health insurance than men pay.  Insurance executives argue that these higher premiums are actuarily-based, citing more frequent medical visits and the cost of pregnancy.  While these arguments have some basis in reality, they do not appear to hold up under scrutiny:  Even when pregnancy is excluded from an individual non-family policy, a female insured pays far more for coverage. 

For example, a standard Humana plan charges single 30 year-old women 31 or 32 percent more than it charges men, depending on the region of the country.  In Ohio, Anthem Blue charges the same woman 49 percent more than a man for identical individual policies.  At age 40, when most women have put child-birth behind them, the gap remains 38 percent.  The Texas Health Insurance Risk Pool charges women in their 20s 39 percent more for coverage, while in Iowa, a 30 year-old woman pays 48 percent more for a Wellmark plan.  Insurance executives claim that in addition to women being more reliable in seeking proper non-emergent care, they also experience maternity-related expenses even in later life; expenses relating to incontinence, for example.  If the insurance executives are correct, perhaps this explains why women are more attuned to the need to reexamine our current health care system.
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