KXLH’s Marnee Banks is reporting that six of the GOP candidates for governor have endorsed the idea of repealing Montana’s decades-long prohibition against gender discrimination in insurance policies, claiming it will “lower the cost of insurance.”
I don’t mean to be cynical, but does it seem likely that insurance executives would fight for decades to reduce the rates they can charge? Experience seems to show that the opposite is true—and that rates, especially for women, are likely to go up if the Republican candidates get their way. While it’s stunning to imagine that the Republican Party would put the interests of large insurance companies ahead of the interests of women, it’s happening once again.
The National Women’s Law Center says that women pay significantly higher premiums than men.
Gender rating, the practice of charging women different premiums than men, results in significantly higher rates charged to women throughout the country. In states that have not banned the practice, the vast majority, 92%, of best-selling plans gender rate, for example, charging 40-year-old women more than 40-year-old men for coverage. Only 3% of these plans cover maternity services.
The total cost for women across the nation is over one billion dollars:
Nationwide, the effect of these discrepancies can be staggering. New analysis by the National Women’s Law Center, finds that gender rating costs U.S. women approximately $1 billion a year. Insurance companies, despite being aware of the problem, have not voluntarily taken steps to eliminate it.
For a group of candidates who seem so eager to proclaim their fealty to state sovereignty, these gentlemen are awfully willing to give up central tenets of Montana’s constitution just to enrich the insurance industry.
I suspect the rest of us would rather protect Montana’s proud heritage of non-discrimination in the law.
Addendum: It’s also awfully amusing to see these champions of limited government, united in their opposition to things like mandated insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, defend more government:
NAIFA also asked each candidate if they would support tightening up the law which requires drivers to carry liability insurance. All the candidates say they would.