From AP - News Headlines -

Health Care Group Decries Using Gender to Set Health Insurance Rates

Many women are charged more for their health insurance than men, and a health care advocacy group says that's unfair discrimination.

The head of the Champaign County Health Care Consumers says her own experience with group health insurance for the six employees in her not-for-profit group revealed big differences in premium between male and female employees. Claudia Lennhoff says their provider, Personal Care, charges more than double for women in one certain age group than for similarly-aged men.

Lennhoff says ten other states have banned so-called gender rating for health insurance, but not Illinois. However, she says national health care legislation now in Congress could very well address the issue.

"Now if we can get it passed as a national law, as a part of national health reform, UI think that would obviously help everybody all over the country," Lennhoff said. "But if that doesn't happen I think we'll be among the first to champion such an effort in the state of Illinois."

Lennhoff acknowledges that insurers consider the health demands of female policyholders - including childbirth - in figuring their rates. But she claims profits are the main reason behind the different premiums. We've not been able to contact a representative of Personal Care for comment.