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I think this is what they call a no-win situation

July 17, 2009

I need health insurance for when I move. The global health insurance that I will probably end up buying will be $1543 for a year. It’s so much money, but it’s worth it for my own health care costs to be covered in case of an emergency. Overall, it seemed fair to me. That is, until I compared my quote to what a man of the same age would have to pay: $1171. That’s almost $400 less!

So I did a little bit of research… According to an NPR article, women pay more for insurance because they are more likely to go to the doctor when they’re sick and for check-ups. We pay more for taking steps to keep ourselves healthy in the long run!

The other big factor that makes women’s health insurance more expensive is the potential for pregnancy and the high cost of maternity care. The plan that I’m buying does cover maternity care, up to $50,000, but here’s the kicker: it does not cover birth control. Any prescription medications will not be paid for in my first year of coverage. I called the insurance company to ask a few questions about this, and one of their employees told me that birth control, like all other prescription medications, is considered treatment for a “pre-existing condition.”

Just to sum up: I’m paying an extra $400 because it’s possible I could get pregnant, but my insurance will not pay for the pills that would help prevent an unwanted pregnancy. Apparently being a woman who does not want to get pregnant is my pre-existing condition.

Senator Kerry is all over this though, and recently proposed legislation that “would improve health care benefits for women in the individual market by preventing insurers from charging them more, denying or limiting coverage based on their pregnancy status or delivery method, and ensuring comprehensive maternity coverage.”

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