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California's New Health Insurance Law: Not a Gender Thing

By Neetal Parekh on October 16, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In the recent wave of legislation passing through California's capital, one more to add to the books has to do with gender equality and California health insurance laws.  Effective January 1st 2010, state health insurance companies and HMO's will not be able to charge men and women different rates for the same type of insurance policy.

Currently, California women pay anywhere from 5% to 40% more than male counterparts for equivalent insurance, even on policies without maternity coverage.   And backed up against tough economic stats, that doesn't bode well for unemployed women seeking to stay insured.

The practice of paying different rates based on gender for the same insurance is called gender rating.  The issue was helped along by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera who sued state officials for gender rating, claiming that the practice violates provisions of the California Constitution.   The suit was put in abeyance while details of the bill were hammered out and, in light of the new California health insurance law, will likely be dismissed.

If you're curious about another new bills that have been signed into California law, grab a mocha and pair of glasses... Governor Schwarzenegger has been using the big ink pen a lot lately.  478 times to be exact.


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