A Win for Women’s Health Care

by Krista Ciminera

In a time when hot topics of women and health care revolve around setbacks like the Stupak Amendment, it’s refreshing to read an article from the New York Times titled, “Health Law Cuts the Cost of Being a Woman,” about a new health care law that protects women from discrimination from the health care industry.

In the past, no laws were in place protecting women from sex-based health insurance discrimination.  Women who had individualized policies were generally charged more than men, based on the theory that women utilized health care more often.  This practice is known as “gender rating,” which charges women more for the same coverage that men receive.  Some companies went as far to assign non-smoking women higher policies than men who smoked, even though the risks involved with smoking are vastly known to be entirely unhealthy. 

This new health care law eliminates the possibility of gender rating and dismisses the notion of women as having a “pre-existing condition.”  The passing of this new law, as well as the recent passing of the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act, which protects people with pre-existing genetic conditions from discrimination, are major steps in reigning in the unfair practices of the health insurance industry.

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