Women pay higher health insurance premiums than men in Maryland, Virginia and D.C. And many are denied care for pre-existing conditions only women have. This discrimination was the focus of a congressional hearing on Capitol Hill.
Insurers are allowed to charge men and women different rates based on gender. On average a 25 year-old female pays 45 percent more than a 25 year-old man. And Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski says coverage is skimpy at best. She says health care proposals working their way through Congress would to take away an insurers' right to deny care to a woman because she is pregnant or had a C-section. One person testified she couldn't purchase a plan from a private insurer unless she underwent sterilization. Mikulski was furious.
"I found it offensive and morally repugnant and I intend to do something about it," she says.
Insurance companies say women use more health care services than men. Some also face higher premiums if they have pre-existing conditions.
Sara Sciammacco reports...