Suit Argues California Insurance Rules Are Biased Against Women
On Tuesday, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed a lawsuit against the state alleging that state regulations that permit health insurers to charge women higher premiums than men are discriminatory and violate the state constitution, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The suit alleges that California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner (R) and Cindy Ehnes, director of the Department of Managed Health Care, approved rules that permit so-called "gender rating," in which insurers can take into account a person's sex when determining premiums for individual policies.
Women are being charged up to 39% more for health insurance coverage than men, the suit contends.
Darrel Ng, a spokesperson for the insurance department, said, "The Legislature explicitly lists gender as one of the factors to be considered. Until the Legislature changes the laws or the courts decide differently, we will uphold the law" (Olivarez-Giles, Los Angeles Times, 1/28).
Two laws -- one passed in 1991 and the other in 2005 -- permit health insurers to take into account a member's sex when determining premiums for individual health insurance policies (California Healthline, 1/5).email subscription.