Health Insurance’s War Against Women

Filed in National by on September 17, 2009

And children.  I’m really looking forward to hearing social conservatives defend this

“The point of insurance is to insure against catastrophic care costs. That’s what you’re trying to aggregate and pool for such things as heart attacks and cancer,” said an Anthem Blue Cross spokesman. “Having a child is a matter of choice. Dealing with an adult onset illness, such as diabetes, heart disease breast or prostate cancer, is not a matter of choice.”

This is now the insurance industry’s latest ploy – C-sections as pre-existing conditions.  I’m not surprised since they are also labeling spousal abuse as pre-existing.  I’m sure all the abusers are thrilled to add another weapon to their arsenal against their victim.  Here’s to more control and intimidation!  I can almost hear them saying,  “Go to the hospital for that bloody lip/broken arm and then you’ll lose your health insurance!”

As a person who had an emergency C-section – and had to report it to my insurance company within 12 hours, or risk it not being covered – this new excuse for non-coverage takes my breath away.  It is a classic example of acting as if the patient is in control, when it’s the doctor’s call.

But what’s really interesting is how social conservatives will view this pre-existing condition.  Seems to me it’s not very pro-life.  Also seems like it might actually increase abortions.  Oh, what a dilemma!

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A stay-at-home mom with an obsession for National politics.

Comments (27)

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  1. Somehow it’s a choice affecting women. Men don’t get dropped from their insurance when their partners have children. We obviously need a gender equity law from Congress for health insurers.

  2. pandora says:

    True, UI. Wonder if a family history of C-sections is next?

  3. ray k says:

    The social conservatives of which you speak will read this and only understand this when they are directly effected by it. In there world facts do not matter only opinion supported by rigid dogma, and that states our health care system is perfect as it stands.

  4. pandora says:

    Oh my, Ray, you’re right! Silly me. ;-)

  5. Dana says:

    Hey, it is our friends on the left who have proclaimed pregnancy and childbirth a matter of personal choice, in which the state ought to have no involvement. So why get peeved when your insurance company agrees with you?

    Ain’t karma a bitch? :)

  6. shortstuff says:

    “Hey, it is our friends on the left who have proclaimed pregnancy and childbirth a matter of personal choice, in which the state ought to have no involvement. So why get peeved when your insurance company agrees with you?”

    I don’t understand the point you’re trying to make. So because people advocate that getting pregnant (more so, you’re really referring to abortion I take it) is about personal choice so a Health Insurance company can deem it ok to deny someone coverage? In that logic, the vast majority of Americans would be denied coverage then, even the ones that have it the moment their BMI is in the overweight or obese section as THAT’s a personal choice to eat and keep eating and keep eating.

  7. Forced pregnancy will not stop discrimination against women by insurance companies.

  8. pandora says:

    Dana thinks he’s funny, but you’d think a pro-lifer could manage some outrage at this practice – in the name of consistency. Perhaps his pro-life stance should be taken as seriously as his comment.

  9. Geezer says:

    “So why get peeved when your insurance company agrees with you”

    So you acknowledge that insurance ought to be handed over to the government? Because that’s, y’know, the only inference I can take from you confusing “insurance company” and “government.”

  10. Geezer says:

    “Perhaps his pro-life stance should be taken as seriously as his comment.”

    Please realize that any adamantly pro-life man — meaning one who’s willing to argue about it — is in it not for the life but for the purpose of keeping women in their place.

  11. anonone says:

    This discussion is too nuanced.

    Here is the crux: Conservative republicans always value money over people’s lives and health. Always.

    It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or woman, child or adult. What only matters to them is relative wealth.

    When it comes down to it, on virtually any issue, when you get to the bottom of the argument, you will see that conservative repubs argue for the money interests and liberals argue for people’s freedom, lives, and health.

  12. mike w. says:

    Dana – the Left LOVES getting the government involved in personal decisions when it suits their agenda. They’re hypocrites.

  13. anon says:

    You can’t be a hypocrite when you consistently believe the government does have a role in helping people. On the other hand, republicans constantly talk about less government in peoples lives unless it suits their purposes – so as usual Mikey, you’ve been corrected. The republcians are the hypocrites, saying one thing yet attempting to use government to interfer in the daily decisions of Americans.

  14. Geezer says:

    Government, insurance companies — what’s the difference when you’re trying to make a moronic point anyway, eh?

    How does pointing out bad behavior by insurance companies have anything to do with the government? I realize people like Dana and Mike exist to lick the balls of the ruling class, but they should at least figure out the difference between government and insurance companies, shouldn’t they?

  15. Joanne Christian says:

    Maternity riders used to be the norm when purchasing health insurance–and became the glaring increase for individuals who opted. Such a shame to return to that.

  16. Joanne,

    The government passed a law making that made pregnancy discrimination illegal but it doesn’t cover individual plans.

    The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 requires employers with more than 15 workers to include maternity benefits in their insurance packages. But only 14 states require maternity coverage in policies sold on the individual market, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

    And a report last fall by the National Women’s Law Center found only 12 percent of 3,500 individual insurance policies included comprehensive maternity coverage. Another 20 percent offered it with a rider that cost as much as $1,100 a month. Others required a two-year waiting period.

  17. redwaterlily says:

    “Somehow it’s a choice affecting women. Men don’t get dropped from their insurance when their partners have children. We obviously need a gender equity law from Congress for health insurers.”

    LOVE IT and yes we do. How come the ACLU hasn’t thought of that yet?

    While having a baby may be a choice, having a c-section is not (well, mostly not, I hear there are women stupid enough to WANT to have a c-section rather then labor pains – I had both, but labor pains are over at some point, the c-section takes a while to heal). Just another reason why I DO NOT think health insurance companies shoudl be for-profit businesses.

  18. redwaterlily says:

    There is a report here: http://nwlc.org/reformmatters/NWLCReport-NowhereToTurn-WEB.pdf

    from the National Women’s Law center. On page 6 they state:
    In addition, if during the medical underwriting process the insurer discovers that an applicant underwent a past C-section, the company may charge her a higher premium, impose an exclusionary period during which it refuses to cover another C-section or pregnancy, or even reject her for coverage altogether unless she has been
    sterilized or is no longer of childbearing age.

    OK – now the STERILIZED part – shouldn’t all those family loving, religious anti-abortion people also scream at this? insurances force women to undergo surgery so they can’t get pregnant in order to have coverage — isn’t that against the whole procreation thing? Why don’t they demonstrate against such treatment?

    Also
    “Insurers in D.C. and the following nine states are allowed to deny coverage to domestic violence survivors: Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming.”

    I know where I won’t be moving.

    And then there is gender rating…meaning to charge more for females then male insurance seekers – Delaware is one of the States that allows that – I think we should ask KWS to stop that practice – 10 other states do!

  19. Good point, redwaterlily. We should definitely send letters to KWS about gender equity in insurance.

  20. liberalgeek says:

    Question… if we don’t allow gender rating in medical insurance, should we also get rid of it in automobile insurance? Young male drivers pay more than young female drivers.

  21. shortstuff says:

    LG,

    I don’t think you can take that out because they base their pricing on statistical information based on overall accident rates from a specific gender group and age range. Also, I thought it was the other way around, female drivers get better rates than young male drivers?? Basing on my own bias of having a higher premium than my girlfriend did at the time. :(

  22. liberalgeek says:

    yes, young male drivers pay more.

    So, if an insurance company were to show that women have higher healthcare costs, they could charge more?

  23. shortstuff says:

    Damn dude! That’s seriously a freakin’ thought… Yes and they would most definitely do that too. From OB checkups to possible child birth and so forth, they would typically spend more on a woman than a man…

  24. Car insurance differences don’t have the same moral implication. Young men can improve their insurance rates and young women can make them worse. Men won’t be able to have babies. Pregnancy is something unique to women. Bad drving is not unique to young men. If we allow bias based solely on biology, that’s a big problem.

  25. Progressive Mom says:

    “So, if an insurance company were to show that women have higher healthcare costs, they could charge more?”

    LG –That was standard health insurance for years, and still exists in the individual market in many states, except where it has been regulated out.

    Women’s health care insurance rates were higher than men’s from ages 25 to 35 or 45. Men’s were higher than womens from about age 45 to 65 (used to be higher rate of heart disease and attacks, strokes, etc.)

    “community rating”, which was developed by the Blues back in the day when they were not for profit, was supposed to wash away these differences and create one rate. Community rating is the law in some states.

  26. liberalgeek says:

    Yes, I am suggesting that, as a man, I have suffered higher prices for my gender in the auto insurance realm. I am looking for someone to articulate why it is OK in auto insurance (and life insurance), but not medical insurance.

    I’m just asking, not leaning one way or the other.

  27. pandora says:

    As the mother of a son taking driver’s ed… I think LG should get on this immediately! Thanks.