VIDEO: NBC Nightly News Highlights Health Insurance Discrimination

Emily Douglas

Women may pay up to 140% more for individual health insurance than men do, and NBC Nightly News has picked up the story.

Women may pay up to 140% more for individual health insurance than men do, and NBC Nightly News has picked up the story.  Largely condemning the practice of "gender-rating," the segment explains that no federal guidelines determining health insurance costs on the individual market. Reporter Dr. Nancy Snyderman points out that women can even be denied health insurance if they are victims of domestic violence. 

The strangest part of the segment? Snyderman says that the insurance industry is "looking for solutions beyond gender" to address the 47 million Americans without health insurance. Widespread un- and underinsurance is a legitimate issue, but gender is a necessary lens if insurers are to address discriminatory insurance costs.

Watch the segment below:

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Media: It’s a Woman’s Nation While Dad’s on His Knees

Wendy Norris

Instead of a thoughtful series on very real gender inequities in wages, unfair gender-rating of health insurance and antiquated employment policies to truly elevate the public debate, it now appears Cosmopolitan is advising the Shriver Team.

In the heat of the national debate on long-delayed health
insurance reform, the landmark Shriver Report on work and family life
has sadly devolved into a voyeuristic peek into our bedrooms.

"Shifting roles change dynamic in bedroom" shouts
Thursday’s lead story on 
MSNBC.com, a media partner in the year-long study of workplace trends
led by California First Lady Maria Shriver and published by the liberal think
tank Center for American Progress.

Instead of a thoughtful series on very real gender
inequities in wages, unfair gender-rating of health insurance and antiquated
employment policies that could truly elevate the public debate it now appears Cosmopolitan is advising the Shriver
Report publicity team.

A fat check is the new heaving bosoms, so they say. There
were no women making big bank that were actually interviewed for the story.

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The piece subtitled "When she earns more, he aims to
please
" is an excruciating exercise in sexuality-fueled relationship
politics that utterly destroys the report’s giddy assertion that the
"battle of the sexes is over."

"Derrick
Hayes’s wife, an oncology nurse, makes twice the money he does in his job as a
juvenile corrections officer in Columbus, Ga.

And
he since she brings home much of the bacon, he wants to make sure he’s offering
her some perks too. He leaves affectionate notes around the house for her and
tries to keep the house tidy. And he wants to make sure he shines in one
special area.

Since
she is "handling certain areas of the relationship" like making most
of the money, he said, “you’ve got to handle your business." By
"business," Hayes means sex. "You’ve got to be creative. You’ve
got to be good!"

Lovely. Good to know the unnamed Mrs. Hayes is getting some
action.

Especially after a hard day’s work in an incredibly
stressful profession where she is likely exposed to dangerous chemotherapy
toxins and radiation — a concern the study devotes an entire section to the
workplace risks in female-dominated occupations.

Even more despicable is Chris Matthews’ tittering "sex
as reward for housework" interview with Shriver on his MSNBC show Hardball and his lecherous insinuations
about her marital relations with husband, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger:

The most infuriating aspect of this media debacle is the Shriver Report is a well-sourced study on gender inequities in the workplace and at home — though its policy prescriptions on telecommuting and family leave policies focus far too heavily on improving circumstances for affluent, white mothers than the more intractable problems facing single women without children, low income women and women of color.

I’m almost relieved that NBC News concludes this banal week-long series on the report Friday. Though I can only imagine we’re in for a searing exposé on the new pickup line for middle-aged women on the prowl for younger men: “Hey, baby, what’s your insurance co-pay?”

VIDEO: Another Family With Perfectly Healthy Toddler Told “Your Child Too Small” for Insurance

Jodi Jacobson

As we dig deeper into the once-shrouded realities of our own health care system, the stories about how families and individuals have been forced to struggle to get health care coverage and the ridiculous reasons insurance companies have given for denying coverage are coming out.

As we dig deeper into the once-shrouded realities of our own health care system, the stories about how families and individuals have been forced to struggle to get health care coverage and the ridiculous reasons insurance companies have given for denying coverage are coming out.

Yahoo News reports on another story of a family with a toddler told that their otherwise perfectly healthy child was "too small" to qualify for health coverage.

On Wednesday morning [October 21st, 2009], "The Today Show" covered the story
of 2-year-old Aislin Bates. Though she weighs just 22 pounds (in
the third percentile range for kids her age), her doctor has described
her as being perfectly healthy, never having been sick with anything
more than a cold. Still, United HealthCare didn’t buy it, saying that the child didn’t meet height and weight standards. So, no insurance for Aislin.

It appears United Health Care has a set policy to discriminate based on arbitrary measures of size and weight.  Yesterday, we reported on the story of Peggy Robertson who, after being told by United Health Care’s Golden Rule division that the condition for her own health care coverage would be for her to get sterilized, she was subsequently also told that her son was too small to be covered.

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Yahoo reports that:

After the segment aired on NBC,
queries on young Aislin surged from zilch into triple digits. United
HealthCare is wisely responding to what could be a PR crisis.

Ya think?

In an article from Denver’s ABC affiliate, a company spokesperson for United HealthCare said the company’s height and weight requirements "are based on several medical sources, including the Centers for Disease Control, and are well within industry standards." 

If these are industry standards then we surely there is something wrong with the "industry." 

Aislin’s father Rob was quoted as saying that even though he doesn’t
support universal health care, this battle over insuring his daughter
has made him want insurance companies to have more "legitimate reasons
for denying coverage."  

NBC medical expert Dr. Nancy Snyderman,
who appeared with the Bates family, was more pointed in her criticism:
“This is just so bogus. A pre-existing condition for a child this age
is birth, let’s be real….. This is why things have to change."