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This morning, The New York Times ran an article that highlights the challenges women face in the individual health insurance market.

In the article, the Times shared some findings from a recent report by my colleagues here at the National Women’s Law Center. The report found that women pay higher premiums than men on the individual health insurance market. Plus, women often cannot get comprehensive coverage that meets their needs — particularly maternity coverage.

Also in the article, a senior VP at one insurance company, Humana, argued that higher premiums are justified even if maternity coverage is excluded, because: “Bearing children increases other health risks later in life, such as urinary incontinence, which may require treatment with medication or surgery.”

So, women should pay more for health insurance coverage because they might get pregnant and the pregnancy might cause urinary incontinence that might require surgery? How absurd!

In this economic and political climate, with employees facing layoffs and politicians emphasizing the use of the individual market as a “fix” to our health care crisis, this puts women in grave risk of not receiving the quality health care they need.

We encourage you to visit our site to learn more about our report. You can also contact your Members of Congress to encourage them to stop allowing discriminatory practices in health insurance. As Rep. Xavier Becerra of California says in the article, “'If men could have kids,' such disparities would probably not exist.”

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