Paper Gowns, Fender Benders, and Gender Equality


Women (especially young women) go to the doctor more often than men—a lot more. So it's no surprise that health insurance companies want to charge more to cover women. The reverse is true of auto insurance, where men (especially young men) are more costly to insure. Ladies get to pay more for the privilege of sitting around in a paper hospital gown, and men get to pay more for the privilege of getting into frequent fender benders. Everybody loses, right?


The Denver Post ran a story last week that involved the word "outrage" under this headline, "Women pay up to 50% more for health insurance premiums."

And, while I am generally baffled by the instinct that drives people to write letters to editor, Paul Kelly of Delta has won my heart with this missive:

I was shocked by your report that women are charged higher health care premiums just because they go to doctors more often.

If insurance companies are allowed to charge higher premiums to offset greater risk, soon they'll want more for a $10 million life insurance policy than a $10,000 one. They'll want more for auto insurance just because the applicant has a few DUIs and vehicular homicides on his record. Then they'll deny some poor guy a homeowner's policy outright just because he's on probation for arson and insurance fraud.

If this spreads, restaurants will want to charge the guy who had lobster and chardonnay more than the guy who had a tossed salad and iced tea. And the chiropractor husband of the woman featured in the article might start charging his patients more if they come to see him more often.