Why Do Women Pay More for Health Insurance?

It may come as a complete surprise to you to find out that women pay much more for the same health insurance coverage than men of the same age. Some health insurance policies often cost women hundreds of dollars more a year than what a man would have to pay for the exact same coverage. Though many women’s rights groups have raised concerns about this disparity, it’s only recently that members of Congress have started asking questions of the various health insurance associations about the justification for such cost differences.

Some studies – cited by health insurance companies – show that women aged 19 to 55 are responsible for needing much more healthcare than men of nearly any age group. This is especially true during a woman’s childbearing years. Because of this, many women just starting out in a career intentionally put off having children until they are in a better position – career wise – to be able to handle the extra financial burden of the expected higher healthcare costs. According to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, the average cost for having a baby was aboutt $7,600 in 2004, which would be paid out of pocket without a health insurance plan.

Actual Differences in Health Costs – Women vs. Men

Ironically, because women are more conscious of their healthcare and visit doctors more regularly than men, health insurers charge that they cost more to insure than men. This disparity of costs for healthcare coverage can best be seen by comparing cost quotes online for women and men of exactly the same age and health risk and with the same medical pasts.The difference in quotes can range from hundreds of dollars a year to over a thousand!

In fact, the average difference is 35% more for a woman’s health insurance plan – just to have the same insurance coverage as a man! This percentage also fluctuates depending on the state in which you’re being insured. For example, in Texas, women aged 25-29 pay 40% more for coverage than men of the same age. In Nebraska, the cost difference is a more modest 32% more for a policy than a man in the same state has to pay. As a woman moves away from the age of child-bearing, the percentage rate drops to only 38% more than a man would pay. But women in Iowa and Ohio pay an astounding 49% more for the same coverage as men of the same age and medical history!

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