CHANDLER, AZ - It's no secret, women often get paid less than men for the same job. Plus, women pay more than men for things like dry cleaning, body wash, razors and deodorant.
And now there's new evidence women are paying a lot more than men for health care.
A report just released in March found the same exact insurance plan will cost women more than it will cost him.
"Very frustrating," said Cindy Thompson of Chandler. She buys her own health insurance and wants equal treatment.
"It truly is unfair," Thompson expressed sadly.
Thompson, a wife and working mother of two, runs her own business and pays for health insurance out of her own pocket.
"I thought, 'Oh my gosh that's hugely expensive,'" recalled Thompson.
Expensive and unfair, according to Thompson.
"I was way higher on my premium than he was on his," Thompson said of her husband Ryan's monthly costs.
The most shocking part? Thompson's husband is a smoker. She's not.
"I'm paying $700 on mine, and he's paying with the kids $400 and smoking," Thompson explained.
It would appear she is a victim of gender rating.
"We did find one plan in Arizona that would actually cost a woman a $1,000 a year more for the same plan as a man would get," said Judy Waxman with the National Women's Law Center.
Waxman helped write a recent report: "Turning to Fairness." She claims gender rating is legal in Arizona. It happens when insurance companies charge women a higher premium than men for the exact same coverage.
Waxman found 100 of the top health care plans in Arizona charge women more than men.
"In dollars that would mean somewhere between $135 a year and $500 a year."
If you're buying your own insurance, like Thompson, only two of the 120 plans offered in Arizona even include maternity coverage.
If you want it, you'll have to pay even more.
"We found that over the year, women are likely to pay $1 billion more than men for the same insurance plans, and again, that is without maternity coverage," Waxman pointed out.
Insurance companies argue women are more likely to visit doctors for regular checkups, have certain chronic illnesses and take more prescription drugs than men.
"I am very fortunate that I'm able to pay my premium right now," Thompson explained. "But I worry about the day that I can't."
Companies that have more women on their payroll than men also pay more to cover their employees.
So what can be done?
Seventeen other states ban some form of gender rating. The Affordable Care Act would end it for good nationwide, but the U. S. Supreme Court could overturn parts of that law.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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