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Generic Confusion

When you leave, my blog just fades to grey
Nu ma nu ma iei, nu ma nu ma nu ma iei

News? Check. Politics? Check. Music? Check. Random thoughts about life? Check. Readership? Ummm.... let me get back to you on that. Updated when I feel like I have something to say, and remember to post it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

It's time for equal rights in auto insurance

The New York Times is calling for an end to discrimination in auto insurance. People should not pay more for insurance just because of their chromosomes. Check out the article.
Of course, that's not the subject. Why would anyone ever be concerned about men being screwed? It seems individual health insurance rates have drawn enough attention to be worthy of an article in the New York Times.

Particularly odious is this quote from a lawyer:

Marcia D. Greenberger, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center, an advocacy group that has examined hundreds of individual policies, said: “The wide variation in premiums could not possibly be justified by actuarial principles. We should not tolerate women having to pay more for health insurance, just as we do not tolerate the practice of using race as a factor in setting rates.”

Stick to law, and let the actuaries decide what is justified by actuarial principles. Just as older people utilize health care services more, so do women. And so it's entirely justified they be charged more because they do.

Right now, existing regulations are wholly skewed in favor of women. Currently, men pay more for auto insurance, as experience justifies the higher claims of men. Men pay more for life insurance, as their mortality rate is higher at every age, including in the womb. Yet pensions, both private and Social Security, pay out equal benefits to men and women. Since women live longer, a given investment in a pension plan should result in a lower monthly benefit than men, since it has to last much longer. Yet that's not the case, by law. In addition, long term care insurance, designed to cover the expenses of institutional or home care due to infirmity, is also sold under unisex rates, even though women live longer and use this benefit more often.

Plus, as the article mentioned, group health insurance is unisex as well. Though I'm on my company's group insurance, I'm the poster child for men rarely using health care. What purpose is served by getting a gamut of tests when I feel healthy?

The state of Montana is mentioned in the article, and we should pay attention to what happened there. In some past furor over equal rights, the state required all insurance to be sold with unisex rates. The result? The typical life insurance product uses the higher premiums for both sexes, the male rates for the benefit, and female rates for disability or waiver of premium benefits (childbirth is the reason for higher female disability rates among young people).


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