Thursday, April 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Bill would prohibit gender pricing in long-term care insurance

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From page A3 | January 29, 2014 | 1 Comment

Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis, introduced AB 1553 on Tuesday, which would prohibit long-term care insurance providers from charging women higher premium rates than men for the same coverage.

“Gender discrimination has broad public policy implications,” Yamada said in a news release. “Women earn less than men in their lifetime and accumulate less wealth, so charging women more for the same policies is neither a fair nor effective solution to covering the industry’s costs. Pricing based on life expectancy sets an extremely dangerous precedent.”

Because women generally live longer than men, they depend on long-term care insurance benefits more and often reduce men’s dependence on such insurance by serving as their caregivers.

According to the American Association of Long-Term Care Insurance, almost 70 percent of women age 75 or older are widowed, divorced or never married, leaving them less likely to have spouses to provide care for them and more likely to reside in assisted living and nursing facilities. Two out of three nursing home residents in California are women.

Long-term care insurance reimburses policyholders for long-term services and supports, including personal and custodial care, in a variety of settings such as in the home or at a skilled nursing facility. The Affordable Care Act prohibits insurers from charging women higher premiums for health insurance policies, but long-term care insurance in California is classified as disability insurance, so it is not bound by that law.

“Women have always had a hard time figuring out how to pay for long-term care insurance from their lower incomes and resources,” said Bonnie Burns of California Health Advocates. “Gender discrimination will force even more women out of the market, shifting the cost of their care to their families and the state’s Medicaid program.”

Without AB 1553, rates for women could rise as much as 40 percent, Yamada said. Montana and Colorado already have acted to prohibit gender-based pricing for long-term care insurance.

AB 1553 is co-authored by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson and Assemblywomen Cheryl Brown and Susan Talamantes Eggman. It is expected to be referred to the Assembly Insurance Committee in February.

Enterprise staff

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Discussion | 1 comment

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  • Jane Harris (@JaneHar56935722)February 11, 2014 - 3:11 am

    Women will surely greatly benefit from this bill once this bill is passed. Yamada pointed out significant details that support their disgust over this gender-based pricing. There's no denying that women outlive men but the latter earns more than women, so how can they afford high ltci costs? Yamada said that pricing based on life expectancy alone sets an extremely dangerous precedent. I think both parties can resolve this if they meet halfway. Insurance companies should consider other factors like women's income and not just use life expectancy as basis for pricing. As for consumers, it pays to explore your long term care options in order to avoid high premiums. So as early as now, look into long term care insurance rates with the help of these resources: http://longtermcare.gov/costs-how-to-pay/what-is-long-term-care-insurance/long-term-care-insurance-costs/ http://www.ltcoptions.com/long-term-care-insurance-costs/ http://www.aaltci.org/long-term-care-insurance/learning-center/how-much-does-long-term-care-insurance-cost.php

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