Gender Rating by Insurance Companies Soon to be Prohibited

State Rep. Nancy Garland (D-New Albany), chair of the Ohio Democratic House Women’s Caucus, and State Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood), co-chair of policy for the Ohio Democratic House Women’s Caucus, applaud the landmark ruling made by the United States Supreme Court yesterday which upholds President Obama’s healthcare reform initiative. The Affordable Care Act includes a provision that would prevent discrimination of health insurance premiums based on gender.

 The Affordable Care Act will not only provide healthcare access to millions of Americans who previously were uninsured, but it will also make significant reforms to current policy. More importantly, insurance companies will be prohibited from setting higher premiums for women.

 Reps. Garland and Antonio (D-Lakewood) introduced HB 551 that, once passed, would immediately prohibit insurance companies from using discriminatory practices when setting premiums in Ohio.

 “Ohio’s women will not be forced to pay higher insurance premiums starting in 2014. Not only does this put a financial strain on individuals, but also on small businesses that are owned by or employ women,” Rep. Garland said. “I commend the Supreme Court for upholding the Affordable Care Act. All women should be allowed equal access to affordable health insurance.”

 “HB 551 will ban insurance companies from using gender to determine health insurance premiums.  The Affordable Care Act will be fully implemented in 2014, allowing insurers to continue to discriminate over an additional year” said Rep. Antonio. “HB 551 will help the women of Ohio immediately with affordable access to care. I am calling on my colleagues to move forward on policies that have already been deemed constitutional by the high court and to allow women to finally gain more equality in our state,” said Rep. Antonio.

 Currently, health insurance companies determine premiums based on a variety of factors, one of which is the gender of the policy holder. Women are consistently charged significantly higher rates than men, even when factoring out maternity coverage. The passage of HB 551 would eliminate gender rating in Ohio, and the Affordable Care Act will eliminate gender rating nationally by 2014.

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