By: Tsu-Han (Ina) Chang
Recent research has found that women are paying more for health insurance than men. Researchers have narrowed down the specific discrepancy to the fact that women are more meticulous when it comes to keeping up with health checkups. The coverage being compared is the same between men and women, essentially the same coverage but significantly different premiums. The research explained that women between the ages of 19 and 55 use more health care, especially in the childbearing years. Therefore, regardless of those women who chose not to have children they are penalized with a higher premium than that of men at the same age. The premiums differences are as much as 49% for a woman in Columbus, Ohio who is paying a monthly premium of $92.87, while a man with the same health and age background is only paying $62.30. During this current economic crisis where more unemployment is likely to occur; more individuals are looking for individual health coverage due to layoffs. However, once women reach the age of 55 there is a trend of a significant drop in monthly payments. Again, this pattern is attributed to the drop in likelihood of pregnancy past the age of 55. This issue of women paying higher premiums is becoming more prominent as members of Congress, such as Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana are bringing up this issue in the media. In efforts to try and lower premiums try some of the following:
- Increase your deductible: The higher the deductible, the lower the monthly premium.
- Invest in a Health Savings Account (HSA). An HSA combines high deductible health insurance plans with a tax-favored savings account. Money in the savings account helps pay the deductible and money left in the account earns interest and rolls over from year to year.
- By Generic Prescription Drugs instead of brand named ones.
- Don’t make unnecessary trips to the emergency room as that is charted on your Medical records, which is used when your policy is being underwritten.
- Stop Smoking.
- However, if you are considering having a child, make sure you have insurance coverage for at least a year or two BEFORE you actually have children. By doing so you can make sure you are covered for pregnancy.