FAIRFIELD — A bill that would prohibit charging women higher rates than men for long-term care insurance has been introduced by state Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada.
“Gender discrimination has broad public policy implications,” Yamada said in a press release. “Women earn less than men in their lifetime and accumulate less wealth, so charging women more for the same policies is neither a fair nor effective solution to covering the industry’s costs. Pricing based on life expectancy sets an extremely dangerous precedent.”
She said that because women generally live longer than men, they depend on long-term care benefits more and often reduce men’s dependence on such insurance by serving as their caregivers.
The assemblywoman said the federal Affordable Care Act prohibits insurers from charging women higher premiums for health insurance policies, but long-term care in California is classified as disability insurance and not bound by that law.
Bonnie Burns, with California Health Advocates, said in the release that, “women have always had a hard time figuring out how to pay for long-term care insurance from their lower incomes and resources. Gender discrimination will force even more women out of the market, shifting the cost of their care to their families and the state’s Medicaid program.”
Montana and Colorado have already acted to prohibit gender-based pricing for such insurance, Yamada said.
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