On Tuesday, December 8, 2009 at 10:30 a.m., Champaign County Health Care Consumers held a press conference to discuss the issue of gender discrimination in private health insurance coverage. CCHCC provided evidence from our own small group health insurance policy with Personal Care HMO as a local example of health insurance discrimination. CCHCC is charged stunningly higher prices for providing coverage to female employees, compared to male employees. This discrimination, called “gender rating” by the insurance industry, comes in the form of drastically higher premiums for female employees compared to male employees.
As an employer, Champaign County Health Care Consumers provides health insurance coverage to its small staff of six. Of these six employees, five are female. Over the last three years, the monthly premiums for employees have increased by about 30% annually – resulting in prices over 60% higher than three years ago. In Illinois, there are no laws protecting women against the use of gender as a rating factor in the small group or individual markets.
In May of this year, the health insurance industry pledged to end the discriminatory practice of “gender rating” in setting the premium prices for individual and group health insurance.
Gender discrimination and overall increases in premiums for the 2009-2010 year are putting CCHCC in financial jeopardy and put the organization’s important community programs that serve thousands of low-income consumers in East-Central Illinois each year at risk.
At the press conference, CCHCC also discussed the current national health reform legislation in the House and the Senate and how the bills have the potential to prevent private health insurance companies from practicing gender discrimination in individual and group health insurance pricing.
Important Facts about CCHCC’s insurance rates:
- Over the past 3 years, across all age groups, women are charged 49.60% higher premium costs.
- Over the past 3 years, women in the 25-29 age category were charged, on average, 148.46% more in premiums than men, averaging $229.92 more per month.
- In 2009 – 2010, any man younger than 50 years old is charged less in premiums than any woman over 25 years old.
Click here  to see the current rate chart for CCHCC’s health insurance.
Click here  to see the chart comparing male and female prices from age 25 – 29 over the last three years.
Click here  to read the News-Gazette article on the press conference – 12/8/09
Click here  to see the WICD news coverage at 5pm – 12/8/09.
Click here  to see the WICD news coverage at 6pm – 12/8/09.
Call Senators Durbin and Burris and urge them to support the regulations in the Senate health reform bill barring private health insurance companies from basing premiums on gender and pre-existing conditions.
• Sen. Dick Durbin
Washington: 202-224-2152 Springfield: 217-492-4062
• Sen. Roland Burris
Washington: 202-224-2854 Springfield: 217-492-5089
CCHCC staff present information on gender discrimination in private health insurance.
CCHCC Executive Director Claudia Lennhoff showing CCHCC’s health insurance prices.
CCHCC staff with the cost of their monthly health insurance premium for their age category, as women, displayed on a price tag.
CCHCC staff with the price of their monthly health insurance premium displayed for their age category as females, along with the cost of the same age category charged to males.