Ending Gender Discrimination in US Health Insurance

These maps from FuseWashington make a point about the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare”.  Right now, most states allow insurers to charge women more for insurance than men.

The Affordable Care Act will ban this practice in 2014.  It will also prevent insurers from refusing to insure those with pre-existing conditions like asthma.  And, y’know, “obesity” is often considered a pre-existing condition.

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Currently the Republican candidates all want to repeal the ACA.  I disagree.

3 thoughts on “Ending Gender Discrimination in US Health Insurance

  1. Honestly, I think the chance that Kathleen Sibelius will declare obesity to be a pre-existing condition is pretty minimal. It’s a lifestyle issue, right? An issue of non-compliance? Naturally insurance companies can refuse to ensure those who don’t take care of themselves. Etc. We will still be under the legal obligation to pay for buffet medical insurance coverage, but will be forced into the high-priced “high risk pools” at best.

    In fact I am very pessimistic about this whole issue. Within a few years, someone will need to be scapegoated for the premium increases, cost increases for medical devices, and other problems that PPACA will cause, and guess what group has already been neatly positioned for scapegoating on health issues? These problems will be “fixed” by the “America’s Health and Responsibility Act of 2016″, or some such, which will require that insurance companies refuse all but emergency medical treatment to patients over a certain BMI, in order to save money, cut costs, and encourage the obese to take personal responsibility for “maintaining a healthy weight”. (There will be exceptions for weight-loss surgery and diet counseling, naturally.)

    • Honestly, I think the chance that Kathleen Sibelius will declare obesity to be a pre-existing condition is pretty minimal.

      Excuse me? Insurance companies have been refusing to cover obese people on individual polices for decades. You can get covered if your work offers it or if you’re already covered.

      (Of course in my state, the only way I can get individual coverage is by already being covered – being fat puts me into the state “high-risk” pool territory, and many who qualify don’t get coverage due to funding issues. If I were thin, my history of depression and asthma would put me into the “high-risk” pool too. There’s a reason I tend to work at high-tech companies that include good insurance coverage as part of compensation.)

      • Yes, I know insurance companies have been refusing to write individual policies for obese people. I’m suggesting that this isn’t going to improve. The HHS secretary has discretion to decide what does and does not qualify as a “pre-existing medical condition” that insurance companies cannot deny coverage over, and I’m saying I don’t think she will so define weight.

        (I myself am a contractor and I’m more or less trapped in this state, since I would not be able to get a new policy if I moved due to my BMI, and medical insurance isn’t allowed to cross state lines so I wouldn’t be able to keep the current one. So I’m very aware that this is already a problem.)

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