San Francisco Sues State Insurance Regulators

San Francisco has filed a lawsuit against California state insurance regulators. The suit claims the state allows insurance companies to discriminate against women by charging them more for health insurance. This applies to individual insurance, not group policies. The lawsuit says California women pay up to 39 percent more for their policies, compared to men. The Los Angeles Times says only 10 states outlaw this common industry practice, called "gender rating." The industry defends the higher insurance prices for women. It says statistics show that women tend to be more accident-prone and more likely to get sick than men and that younger women, in particular, make more visits to the doctor.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

NPR's business news starts with men, women, and health insurance.

(Soundbite of music)

MONTAGNE: The city of San Francisco filed a lawsuit against California state insurance regulators yesterday. The suit claims the state allows insurance companies to discriminate against women by charging them more for health insurance. This applies to individual insurance, not group policies. The lawsuit says California women pay up to 39 percent more for their policies compared to men. The Los Angeles Times says only 10 states outlaw this common industry practice. It's called gender rating. The industry defends the higher insurance prices for women. It says statistics show women tend to be more accident prone than men, more likely to get sick, and younger women in particular make more visits to the doctor.

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