Is Cheap Health Insurance on the Horizon for Colorado Women?
So have you heard about what they are trying to do in Colorado?
You may have missed it with the health care debate raging in Washington, but there is another health care issue heating up in Denver. Seems there is a bill winding its way through the Colorado Legislature that would prohibit individual health insurance companies from charging different rates for men and women.
The Argument for Equal Rates
Senator Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora) doesn't think it's fair that insurance companies charge young healthy women higher insurance rates than young healthy men. That begs the obvious question: what about maternity care? Other than one tabloid sensation in which a biologically born woman turned man had a child, men just don't have babies. And no matter how cute they may be, babies cost a lot of money to carry and deliver.
The good Senator from Aurora argues that even if a woman doesn't carry maternity coverage, she still pays more than her male counterpart. In that case, she may have a point. Are young healthy women really more prone to injury and illness than young healthy men?
The Case for Keeping Things the Same
Of course, there are always two sides to every story. In this case, we have Senator Dave Schulthies (R-Colorado Springs). Senator Schulthies says that what goes down must also go up--in other words, if health insurance costs for women go down, then they must go up for men to compensate.
States Try to Find Ways to Keep Health Insurance Costs Down
The issue in Denver is part of a bigger discussion on health care - one that reaches every corner of the country. We have hit a crisis point where low cost health insurance is hard to find, and increasing numbers of families find themselves without medical coverage.
As the politicos in Washington finish up health care reform, state governments have become tired of waiting for the federal silver bullet. Instead, we have a piecemeal, patchwork system of state laws and regulations intended to bring cheap insurance to the masses. Senator Carroll's bill is just the latest volley in the struggle to discount health insurance prices to an affordable rate.
All this is occurring against a backdrop of runaway health care costs. Almost everyone agrees that Americans are largely to blame. We eat too much and move too little and then act surprised when we get sick. Of course, the pharmaceutical companies don't help with their non-stop barrage of advertising--constantly asking us to talk to our doctors about our enlarged prostates, overactive bladders, and COPD (whatever that is).
It all adds up to a perfect storm in which low cost medical insurance has become a thing of the past, as for-profit insurance companies struggle to keep up with the myriad of pills and treatments that promise to heal whatever ails us.
Which brings us full circle to the Denver question and that hot potato topic of free enterprise. On the one side, should the Colorado Legislature really have any say in how a private health insurance company charges for its services? On the other hand, do we really believe that healthy women without maternity coverage cost their insurance companies more than equally situated men?
When is it discrimination and when is it business?