Though federal laws don’t allow gender biased premiums calculations, basic daily tasks can still be expensive.
Although the federal law that will go into effect next year has stated that gender cannot be factored in to premiums calculations for health coverage, that regulation doesn’t take into account the basic daily life tasks that are covered by long term care insurance.
The Affordable Care Act will prohibit insurers from charging women more than men for the same policy.
Unfortunately, this law does not cover long term care insurance. This means that even though the medical costs may not be priced based on whether the policyholder is a woman or a man, this does not impact the coverage for services that include grooming, feeding, and other daily life assistance that can be required for individuals who cannot perform these tasks for themselves.
One of the largest long term care insurance companies has stated that it will start using gender as a factor starting in the spring.
According to a California Health Advocates policy specialist, Bonnie Burns, “Gender pricing is good for insurance companies,” but she added that “it’s bad public policy and it’s bad for women.” Her group is dedicated to Medicare advocacy and education.
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At the same time, Genworth Financial has said that the new long term care insurance pricing structure is a direct reflection of the fact that women policyholders are the recipients of two out of every three dollars spent on claims. The change in pricing will impact only women who purchase new individual policies. The company has stated that this will be about 10 percent of all of the purchasers.
The new rates will not be applied to policyholders who have already purchased their long term care insurance coverage, nor will it apply to those who purchase a policy as a couple made up of a man and a woman. Thomas Topinka, a spokesperson for Genworth Financial, explained that “This change is being made now to reflect our actual claims experience and help stabilize pricing.”
The American Association for Long Term Care Insurance executive director, Jesse Slome, has predicted that women are likely to see an increase in premiums of 20 to 40 percent under the new pricing calculations.