Politics

Senate approves end to gender disparity for employee insurance costs

Legislation that would prohibit insurers from charging different rates to a business for disability insurance based on an employee’s gender.

The measure addresses the increased cost of insuring female employees compared to male employees, which can be 50 percent more expensive, according to one analysis. Gender is currently used as a determinative factor in setting insurance premiums.

Insurance companies maintain that an employee’s gender helps them determine how likely they are to file a claim, and claim women are more expensive to insure.

“Small businesses should not be penalized for hiring female employees and this proposal would level the playing field for women in the workplace,” Sen. Michael Gianaris, a Queens Democrat pushing the issue, said in a statement. “The deck is already stacked against women in the job market and I am proud the Senate passed my legislation to make things fairer.”

Massachusetts passed a similar ban last year, which was signed into law in January.

Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, a Round Lake Democrat, is considering introducing companion legislation.

The federal Affordable Care Act prevents health insurers from charging a different price for health insurance solely because the customer is a woman.
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