EQUITABLE COVERAGE IN DISABILITY POLICIES

Bob Katzen

In a ceremonial signing, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill that prohibits insurers that offer disability insurance from charging higher premiums or otherwise setting terms and conditions of coverage based solely on gender.

“Women’s rights groups have been working to eliminate gender discrimination in insurance since the 1970s when Massachusetts adopted the Equal Rights amendment to our state constitution,” the bill’s House sponsor Rep. Ruth Balser (D-Newton) stated. “Slowly and incrementally, Massachusetts has eliminated gender disparities in most insurance products including automobile, homeowners, health and annuities. Today we have eliminated the unfair practice of charging women more than men for the same disability protection. Many thanks to the large coalition of groups led by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, the Legislature, and the governor for insisting that Massachusetts continues to lead when it comes to ensuring equality for all.”

“On the long march to gender equality, the passage of this bill is another step forward,” said Sen. Jason Lewis (D-Winchester), the bill’s sponsor in the Senate. “Thank you to Rep. Balser and the advocates who worked tirelessly for many years to pass this legislation. It will improve fairness and lower insurance premiums for tens of thousands of women in Massachusetts.”

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