House Bill 842 prevents insurance companies from using gender to charge higher premiums.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a new anti-gender discrimination bill. House Bill 842 makes it illegal for insurance companies to increase premiums based on whether an applicant is a man or woman.
Traditionally, women pay more for the same disability insurance protection in Massachusetts.
Governor Baker was joined by several other legislature members. This included HB 842’s main sponsor, State Representative Ruth Balser as well as house speaker Robert DeLeo. For more than a decade, Balser has championed anti-gender discrimination movements and women’s rights efforts in the state. She stated that HB 842 will improve equality in the Commonwealth.
“And today we’re celebrating the end of the most egregious form of gender discrimination which is charging women way more than men for the exact same disability protection,” said Rep. Balser in a statement.
The anti-gender discrimination law stops insurers from charging women more for disability insurance.
Under this newly signed law, insurance companies may not use gender as a factor in calculating disability premiums. As women consistently pay more for the same disability insurance coverage in Massachusetts, this law seeks to end the discrimination against women.
Insurance companies worked hard to oppose this legislation from moving forward. They explained that they had legitimate reasons for charging more to female disability policyholders. They indicated that there are a number of increased risks associated with covering women when compared to men. This was why they said a person’s sex could change the rate they pay for their policy. Risks include the likelihood that a policyholder would make a claim.
That said, supporters have applauded the bipartisan support House Bill 842 received on its way to Governor Baker’s desk. Baker said that he was looking forward to the implementation of the new law. The law will become effective as of January 1, 2020, said a WWLP report.
Until the anti-gender discrimination law goes into effect, insurance companies have the right to continue charging more to policyholders based on whether they are male or female. They can also choose to abide by the new regulations before they become effective.