Opinion | Sexuality

Women Benefit from Health-Care Overhaul

The failing industry says it will stop charging women at higher premium rates than it charges men.

In an attempt to stave off a major federal overhaul of the $2.5 trillion health-care industry, health-insurance companies agreed yesterday to stop insuring women at higher premium rates than they do men.

Karen Ignagni, president of the trade group America's Health Insurance Plans, testified before the Senate Finance Committee that she doesn't think gender should factor into rates for individual policies. Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) likewise introduced a bill that would prevent insurance companies from considering sex in setting policy premiums.

"The disparity between women and men in the individual insurance market is just plain wrong, and it has to change," said Sen. Kerry. His proposed bill also bars insurers from denying or limiting coverage based on a woman's "pregnancy status or delivery method." "With Mother's Day around the corner," he said, "there's no better gift to American women than discrimination-free, affordable and accessible insurance that meets their health needs."

Two-thirds ...

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