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Why are women charged more for health insurance?

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It is well-known that women tend to pay higher health insurance premiums: "Take a 40-year-old woman who does not smoke in Louisville, KY. She pays $196 a month, compared to the $128 a male smoker pays for the very same coverage with HumanaOne, according to data cited by the New York Times"(New, 2012).

The justification for this is no less well-known: "They go to the doctor regularly, get frequent check ups and have more prescriptions. In the individual insurance market, where these price differences occur, maternity care coverage is an added charge and does not drive the gap in cost, according to the New York Times"(New, 2012). In other words, women are charged higher health insurance premiums for the exact same reason men are charged higher premiums for auto insurance: because they tend to cost their providers more.

To get a more concrete idea of how this plays out with regards to men:

"Study after study has shown that men are more reluctant to face up to worrisome symptoms or go to the doctor for checkups," says Dr. Timothy Johnson, ABCNEWS' medical editor. "And that is probably one big reason why men's life expectancy, which in the early 1900s was virtually the same for both sexes, now lags behind women's by approximately six years."

Men are also less likely to see themselves as susceptible to disease or injury when, in fact, they are more susceptible, says Dr. Will Courtenay, director of Men's Health Consulting in Berkeley, Calif., a lecturer at Harvard Medical School and editor of the International Journal of Men's Health.

A woman's lifetime risk for cancer is one in three, for example, while a man's is one in two. "Compared to women, men have higher death rates for all top 10 leading causes of death," says Courtenay(Cohen).

New, Catherine (2012). Health Care Costs Are Greater For Women In Most States. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/19/health-care-costs-women-afforda...

Cohen, Jamie. Men More Likely to Put Off the Doctor. Retrieved from: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=116898&page=1

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