Being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition

31 Mar


According to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, who have been repeating the phrase since the comprehensive health care reform bill finally passed last week.

I don’t know much about how health care reform will affect me or other women who hold insurance coverage through an employer.  But among conversations with my fellow young colleagues, it is astounding to hear how much less the men pay for health care coverage – most opt in to the high-deductible plan, which costs much less and is useful for those who rarely see a doctor.  Obviously women have different health care needs, starting at a young age, but it’s still one more way to limit young women amassing wealth. 

According to this NY Times article, it is now prohibited for individual health policies (not through an employer) to charge women more than men for the same coverage (excluding reproductive health issues).  So-called “gender rating” which charged women more than men for basic coverage, made it difficult for small business who employ mostly women to offer comprehensive health coverage.  Even Cesearean sections were sometimes considered pre-existing conditions under some individual policies.

We will see how much these plans end up affecting women, particularly low-income, previously uninsured women.  But I am hopeful this bill brings our country one step closer to accepting women’s rights as human rights.

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