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Friday, October 23, 2009

Framing Health Care Debate As Battle Of Sexes » NPR

By Liz Halloran

Published October 22, 2009 7:01 AM

Get Sterilized, Get Coverage?

During a recent Senate hearing on women and health care, Dr. Gerald Joseph of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists characterized the insurance coverage issues faced by women as "one of the most glaring reasons why we need health reform."

Not only are women charged higher premiums for individual coverage during their child-bearing years, but they also are typically required to purchase expensive riders for maternity coverage.

And there is a body of evidence that shows women have been denied coverage by insurance companies citing "pre-existing conditions" that range from having previously given birth by cesarean section to having been a victim of domestic abuse.

At the recent Senate hearing, led by Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, Peggy Robertson, a Colorado mother of two, testified that she was rejected by an insurance company that determined her previous cesarean constituted a pre-existing condition. Delivering a baby by surgical procedure increases a woman's chances of needing it again in future pregnancies.

The Golden Rule Insurance Co. told Robertson, 39, that if she had been sterilized, the coverage would have been hers. (Read part of a letter the insurer sent her.) Her story is now being featured in ads by the liberal advocacy group Americans United for Change… » NPR

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