Guest blogger Ronda Kaysen: Open up your checkbooks, ladies, because buying your own health insurance will cost you a pretty penny. Women pay hundreds of dollars more each year for individual health insurance plans than men -- at the exact same age, buying the exact same plan, according to a story in the New York Times. If you want a plan that covers pregnancy, be prepared to shell out even more cash.
Insurance companies say they charge women more because they visit the doctor more than men and have more medical costs than men, and having children creates health care problems later in life. But critics say that's outrageous and the difference in services couldn't possibly justify the disparity in costs.
Some women are actually delaying having kids because their health insurance policies don't cover a pregnancy. "I've delayed having a baby because my insurance policy does not cover maternity care," Crystal Kilpatrick, a healthy 33-year-old real estate agent in Austin, Texas, told the Times. "If I have a baby, I'll have to pay at least $8,000 out of pocket."
If this isn't the picture of a healthcare crisis, I don't know what is. When HMO's determine whether healthy, gainfully employed women of childbearing age can afford to get pregnant, there's a problem.