Senate To Consider Bill Banning ‘Gender Rating’ by California Insurers
Today, the California Senate is set to consider a bill (SB 54) that would ban insurers in the state from charging women higher premiums for individual health insurance policies, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The state Assembly on Monday voted 48-29 in favor of a similar measure (AB 119).
The National Women's Law Center, which supports the two bills, in a recent study found that women sometimes pay 21% more than men for the same health plan.
Federal law already prohibits businesses that offer health benefits to workers from charging different premiums for men and women.
Arguments on Both Sides
Insurance companies claim the practice, called gender rating, is justified because younger women typically seek health care services more frequently than men.
Charles Bacchi, interim president and CEO of the California Association of Health Plans, predicted that health insurance rates will increase for all consumers if the bills pass.
However, supporters of the bill argue that the practice is discriminatory and outdated.
Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) authored the Senate bill after San Francisco filed a lawsuit against the state aiming to bar gender rating. San Francisco officials opted to delay the lawsuit pending the outcome of the two measures (Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.