COSTS FOR HEALTH and personal care have long been higher for women compared to men — in fact, higher than many may suspect. Women have more medical procedures than men and thus pay almost 70% more out of pocket, NOW President Terry O’Neill told Huffington Post in 2015. (See chart ) htt
Women buying individual insurance were charged from 50 to 80% more for monthly premiums than men until the Affordable Care Act outlawed this practice, known as “gender rating.” Just as teenage drivers pay higher premiums for car insurance, gender rating is based on the contention that women tend to visit the doctor more frequently, live longer and have babies.
In fact, women cost the health system more only when they’re younger, according to a Wharton public policy report, because “they use preventative healthcare more than men do. But older men cost the healthcare system more: they are more likely to have heart attacks, lung cancer and liver cancer. Also men are more likely to smoke, drink and get in accidents.” (As for having babies, most of the plans that rated according to gender did not cover maternity services.)
For personal care products, the “woman tax” gives female versions of some 800 products — nearly identical to those for men — an average 13% higher price tag, according to a 2015 study by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs. Companies defend the practice by saying it costs more to market to women.
Razor cartridges and razors cost an average 11% higher for women. And while deodorant prices appear similar for men and women, men’s deodorant sticks are larger, with the result that women pay $1.44/ounce compared with $1.15 for men —a difference of about 20%. Noting that the active ingredients are the same, the report suggests: “Buy unscented men’s deodorant if you notice a price discrepancy.”
— Mary Carpenter