Cost of pregnancy policy sparks gender war


Exclusive: A major gender war has broken out over the hugely expensive pregnancy policies of health funds.

Health insurers across the country are facing explosive allegations that they discriminate against women by forcing them to buy the most expensive Gold policies to get coverage in the event of pregnancy.

Meanwhile, only male reproductive issues and prostate issues are covered by cheaper insurance levels.

Gold policies that cover pregnancy cost almost $ 6,000 a year for a family, while Bronze and Silver policies that cover only male issues cost half as much – around $ 3,000 and $ 4,000.

The National Association of Specialized Obstetricians and Gynecologists (NASOG) has written to the Human Rights Commission to request an investigation into the case which it says is “extremely discriminatory against women”.

“Indeed, you are being asked to pay a higher premium, just because you are a woman, and that is just not fair, it is anti-woman, it is misogyny in the true sense of the word. term, ”said NASOG President Dr Gino Pecoraro. mentionned.

“All conditions specifically related to male reproductive health (torsion or testicular cancer, prostate problems, etc.) are covered by cheaper entry-level insurance policies, but pregnancy is only covered by the higher level of coverage, ”he told the commission in a letter requesting an investigation.

Dr Gino Pecoraro says the high cost of pregnancy policies is “anti-woman”. Photo: Glenn Hunt

This means that if, as a result of unplanned sex, a man with an entry-level insurance policy suffers from medical complications such as gonorrhea, he is covered by his insurer, Dr Pecororo said. .

If a woman from the same unplanned sex becomes pregnant, “she does not have health insurance coverage unless she is in the highest (and most expensive) level of insurance policies. medical and that she has completed the waiting period “.

He said pregnancy care should be included in every insurance policy sold in Australia because half of all pregnancies are unplanned and there is a 12-month wait to upgrade a policy.

“This means that unless you are planning to get pregnant and increase your insurance policy, the insurance companies will disown you,” he said.

In many cases, male-specific surgery, such as a radical prostatectomy, can cost more than a natural delivery or cesarean section.

Private Healthcare Australia (PHA) chief Dr Rachel David said the decision to include pregnancy coverage only in Gold level policies was the result of a federal government policy change implemented in April 2019 and was not a decision of the health funds.

“The Gold / Silver / Bronze / Basic product prioritization was introduced by the federal government. Health funds have not advocated for this and have tried to minimize the impact on members by changing policies as much as possible.” said Dr David.

Courtney Zamora Arana says

Courtney Zamora Arana says “ridiculous” health premiums continue to rise. Photo: Adam Head

Brisbane mother Courtney Zamora Arana is expecting her third child in July.

She pays $ 6,000 a year for the best health fund coverage and said it was “ridiculous” that premiums kept going up.

Adding insult to injury, she still faces personal expenses such as a number of exams, an anesthesiologist, assistant surgeon and other bills for obstetrician fees that her fund does not cover. .

“It has just been accepted as the norm that if you need health insurance for a pregnancy, you have to pay a high price without any justification… it absolutely needs to be investigated,” the said. 32 year old woman.

“I’m a married woman, I can get pregnant why should I pay more for my insurance policy than men my age who can get by with a cheaper policy that covers everything they need. I feel discriminated against just because I am a woman.

“All methods of contraception can fail, so women should be reassured that they will be covered if they unexpectedly become pregnant. They should not be penalized for bringing this world to life, it should be seen as a gift. . ”

A spokeswoman for Gender Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins said the commission’s confidentiality process prevented her from commenting.

HEALTH FUND PREMIUM COMPARISONS

GOLD

Single $ 500 NSW Surplus Per Month Includes Pregnancy

Medibank $ 234.35

Bupa $ 260.25

HCF $ 246.50

Feather $ 298.84

Family NSW Surplus $ 500 per month includes pregnancy

Medibank $ 468.70

Boupa $ 520.50

HCF $ 493

Feather $ 571 (over $ 750)

BRONZE PLUS

Single $ 500 EXCESS NSW per month excludes pregnancy

Medibank $ 119.95

Bûpa $ 123.95

HCF $ 124

Feather $ 131.02

Family surplus of NSW $ 500 per month excludes pregnancy

Medibank $ 238.20

Bupa $ 247.90

HCF $ 248

Feather $ 274.66

MONEY MORE

One-time excess of NSW $ 500 per month excludes pregnancy

Medibank $ 218.75

Bupa $ 215.50

HCF $ 228.50

Feather $ 227.03

Family surplus of NSW $ 500 per month excludes pregnancy

Medibank $ 437.50

Bûpa 431 $

HCF $ 457

Feather $ 454.06

Originally published as Cost of pregnancy policy sparks gender war



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