This week, ThinkProgress pointed out that women often face extra hurdles in obtaining health care on the individual market since some insurers refuse to cover maternity care, disqualify women who have had a Caesarean-section pregnancy, or consider domestic violence a pre-existing condition. Yesterday in a speech, First Lady Michelle Obama addressed these disparities:
Women are affected because, as we heard, in many states, insurance companies can still discriminate because of gender. And this is still shocking to me. These are the kind of facts that still wake me up at night; that women in this country have been denied coverage because of preexisting conditions like having a C-section or having had a baby. In some states, it is still legal to deny a woman coverage because she’s been the victim of domestic violence.
And a recent study showed that 25-year-old women are charged up to 45 percent more for insurance than 25-year-old men for the exact same coverage. And as the age goes up, you get to 40, that disparity increases to 48 percent — 48 percent difference for women for the exact same coverage in this country.
Consumer Watchdog has released internal industry “underwriting” guidelines showing some other “pre-existing conditions” that insurers have used to either deny people outright or charge exorbitant fees for coverage: