Health insurance providers are not sexist
I think we’ve all heard mention about how being a woman isn’t a pre-existing condition. It isn’t, but there are many people out there who are completely missing the reason why women pay more for health insurance than men do. It has nothing to do with sex as much as it has to do with how each sex operates.
It’s a statistical reality that women go to visit their doctors more often than men do. To tweak the metaphor used in “Embrace Universal Healthcare,” imagine that a man and a woman are comparing how much they spend on gas per month. They discover that the woman pays more, but why? They own the same model of car. They use the same roads, obey the speed limit, and their driving habits are identical.
Baffled, the woman goes with the only reasoning for this that comes to mind: she’s being charged more at gas stations because she’s a woman. But they ignore one very important detail: the woman drives to more places than the man does.
This rule of thumb applies to many other financial instances. If you use more power, your electric bill is higher. If you have your heater set to a higher temperature, you’ll pay more to refill your gas tanks. If you use something more often, you’ll pay more for it. Health insurance is no different.
As a group, women pay more than the opposite sex, not because of bias against women or their sex being a “pre-existing condition,” but because they’re more likely to take advantage of what they’re getting and go to the doctor more often.
Now why is that? From the start, men are conditioned to be strong and tough. If they don’t fit into the mold, they’re belittled and called a wimp, a weenie, a crybaby, and so on. They’re told to suck it up and take it like a man when things get rough. Men aren’t supposed to cry. They aren’t supposed to complain. They’re expected to go out and solve their problems instead of talking about them.
Typically, women aren’t faced with social conditioning like that. Women are encouraged to get help for most issues that may arise. If a man has a problem, he should just walk it off.
There is a gap between the prices that men and women pay for health insurance. That won’t be denied. But to say that this is due to nothing other than one being a woman is vastly oversimplifying the reasoning and completely ignoring reality. Heath insurance providers aren’t sexist, no matter how often people paint them as such.
Karina Madrigal is a School of Arts and Sciences junior.