In the United States, discrimination of women in the payment of insurance premiums has become the largest if not the most prevalent form of gender discrimination. Many states have not enacted laws to prevent this form of discrimination that is making women suffer especially during giving birth. The purpose of the paper below is developing a health advocacy campaign to effect a policy change in the health care and social services systems that are meant to address the issue of insurance covers in the health sector. The effectiveness of the policy is meant to safeguard women's health, safety, and economic independence. The targeted population in the study is the women in the United States (Steinmo, 1995).
Women in large numbers continue to experience unfair and discrimination when seeking health insurance from the private sector, something that prompted for the launching of this campaign to ensure that fairness is restored in the sector. Women in the private insurance sector are charged more for the obvious reason of being women, and that they experience many complications for example when they get pregnant, hence the insurance provider assumes that they need a larger amount of money to be covered. Services like maternity care are overcharged, and this could be viewed as discrimination because they are only needed by women. The other bitter fact is that women earn less in the work place making it also unfair to overcharge them (Hoffman, 2003).
Different states in the United States have banned the issue of charging women different insurance premiums that their male counters parts. Despite this, the lack of laws that could force the insurance companies to comply complicates the matter. It is my hope that this health advocacy campaign will be implemented as soon as possible so that women do not suffer anymore. For example in some of the states were the practice not banned, women over 40 years old are charged more than their male colleagues who are the same age. It is also estimated that the practice of women paying more in insurance premiums than their male counter parts increases their costs by approximately $1 billion a year (Freudenberg, 2005).
Enactment of the Policy
The proposed policy will be enacted through a modification of the existing laws in the states where there is discrimination of the insurance premiums paid by men and women. The national government will have to oversee that state, and local governments ensure that each private insurance company stops the discrimination and that the amount of insurance premiums paid is equal to promote gender equality.
How existing laws could affect the advocacy efforts
According to the National Women's Law Center (NWLC), 2010, the laws were existing or the lack of laws makes the practice of neglecting women's insurance matters thrive. Lack of regulation by the national or state governments makes the private insurance companies operate the way they want, discriminating women of premiums they are required to pay. This practice has made many women fail to take up insurance covers hence leading to problems whenever they have a health issue. Even in the states that have the laws, the governments in those areas have failed in their implementation, ensuring that private insurance companies operate freely, in the process oppressing women (Steinmo, 1995).
Maternal health care is paid for differently from other insurance premiums, yet it is just a basic health issue that occurs in women. This is the form of discrimination that this health advocacy campaign seeks to improve. Very few states in the United States require private insurance companies to cover maternal care when charging women premiums. The states with these requirements include Colorado, New Jersey, California, New York, Vermont, Washington, Oregon, Montana, and massauchets. All other states have no regulations that require private insurance providers to include maternity cover in their insurance premiums (Hoffman, 2003).
Specifics of the suggested health advocacy Policy Plan
Under this policy proposal, the national government will run the campaign while the individual state government will be required to implement it. The plan will include enacting laws or improving the existing ones to ensure that private insurance providers are required by law to treat both men and women equally in the process of payment of their premiums. The policy will also seek the improvement of the affordable care act which was signed into law in 2010, but has largely remained ineffective in the war against gender discrimination in the insurance sector. The affordable care act contains among other things the non-discrimination provisions, explicit limits on gender rating and explicit requirement to cover maternity care (Freudenberg, 2005).
In conclusion, the main goal of this research was to develop a health advocacy campaign to effect a policy change in the health care and social services systems that are meant to address the issue of insurance covers in the health sector. The paper explained that women continue to face unfair treatment and discriminatory practices in the health insurance system, where they are charged more than their male counterparts and pay for maternal health care separately. This discrimination should be addressed and proper policies put in place to end it completely.
Freudenberg, N. (2005). Public Health Advocacy to Change Corporate Practices: Implications for Health Education Practice and Research. Health education and behavior, 298-319.
Hoffman, B. (2003). Health Care Reform and Social Movements in the United States. American journal of public health , 75-85.
Steinmo, S. (1995). It's the Institutions, Stupid! Why Comprehensive National Health Insurance Always Fails in America. Journal of health politics, policy and law , 329-372.
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