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Women target insurance 'gender gap'

Oct. 5, 2009 at 8:42 AM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Women's advocates say they're looking to correct what they call a long-standing gender gap in insurance companies' treatment of female consumers.

They are working to insert provisions in healthcare reform legislation that would, among other things, bar "gender ratings" through which insurers can charge women more for the same health coverage as men, USA Today reported Monday.

"When it comes to health insurance, women are discriminated against," Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., told the newspaper. "We pay more and we get less, and often we are denied care."

Mikulski says she wants a final healthcare bill to mandate policies cover such things as preventive cancer screenings for women, such as mammograms and Pap tests.

USA Today reported provisions addressing at least some of the women's issues are included in all five of the healthcare bills moving through Congress. But Judy Waxman of the National Women's Law Center said women still have "a fight on our hands" to keep the provisions in final bills because lawmakers are "wheeling and dealing" to maintain a lid on costs.

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