Colorado Governor Ritter signed a bill yesterday requiring individual health insurance carriers to charge the same prices for women and men. Colorado House Bill 1008 would go into effect January 1, 2011, and would require that gender no longer be used to set prices on individual health insurance policies that begin or renew on or after that date. So by the end of 2011, we can assume that pretty much every policy in Colorado will be impacted, as nearly all policies renew annually.
I wrote about this subject a year ago, and I still have many of the same concerns that I had then. I have to assume that HB1008 will result in higher premiums for men in Colorado, to make up for the lowered premiums for women. And I wonder if that will increase the population of uninsured men in the state.
I’m also curious to see what will happen to my own family’s premiums. Our policy renews in November, so we won’t see the impact of HB1008 until November 2011, but I’ll be curious to see whether our total premiums (including one adult male and one adult female of similar ages) will change significantly because of the new law.
According to the Colorado Legislative Council, the law will not have any fiscal impact… but of course that’s only considering the fiscal impact to the state. For individual policy-holders, it will have an impact – it’s likely that rates for most men will increase, while rates for most women will decrease. Ultimately, it will be a more fair system once there is no gender rating on health insurance policies in Colorado. It will just take some getting used to for men who are accustomed to having a lower rate on their policies.