By Bob Katzen
This bill prohibits insurance companies from charging higher disability insurance premiums based solely on gender.
Supporters say that filings with the Division of Insurance show that women in Massachusetts pay much more for the same disability insurance benefits than men in the same occupation class. They note that on average, women pay 23.5 percent more than men but the difference has also been as much as 61 percent higher.
“Equal rights groups having been working to end gender discrimination in insurance products since 1976 when the Equal Rights Amendment was adopted,” said Rep. Ruth Balser (D-Newton) the bill’s sponsor. “Over the years, we eliminated unfair treatment by gender in automobile insurance, homeowner’s insurance, health insurance and annuities. Today we have ended the unfair practice of charging women more than men for the same disability protection. Always proud when Massachusetts leads the way on equal treatment of all people … Today, we have made progress toward our goal of equal rights for women.”