BILL SUMMARY for HB09-1224
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON BUSINESS AFFAIRS AND LABOR
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01:33 PM -- House Bill 09-1224
Representative Schafer, prime sponsor, presented House Bill 09-1224 concerning a prohibition on the consideration of gender in setting rates for individual health insurance policies. This bill prohibits insurance companies from using gender as a factor in determining the rate for an individual health insurance policy. Representative Schafer said she has a strike below that will send this issue to an interim committee to look in to. She discussed some statistics on individual health insurance and stated there are about 180,000 consumers in the individual insurance market in Colorado. Representative Schafer said if the interim study finds there is discrimination in individual health insurance based on gender, then she will bring this bill up again next session.
01:41 PM -- A.W. Schnellbacher, representing the AARP, testified in support of the bill and distributed a handout to the committee (Attachment C). He said that there is a 5 to 6 percent add on for age and gender in Pueblo.
01:43 PM -- Robert Semro, representing the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, testified in support of the bill. He stated that civil rights laws prohibit the employer provided market from using gender in determining health insurance rates. Mr. Semro talked about a National Women Law Center report entitled No Where to Turnthat came out in 2008 and its findings.
01:46 PM -- James Hall, representing American Council of Life Insurers, testified in support of the amendment to the bill and thanked the sponsor for working with them.
01:46 PM -- Melinda Reed, representing the American Association of University Women, testified in support of the bill and/or the amendment. She said women pay more even excluding maternity coverage.
01:48 PM -- Marcy Morrison, the Colorado Insurance Commissioner, testified in support of the bill. She said she prepared to discuss the bill and not the amendment and said that the prior witness' testimony are correct in that women are charged more in the individual health insurance market then men. The commissioner stated that the study is an appropriate approach to this issue. Representative Stephens said there is a boom in women having children and asked how the committee can ensure the Health Care Task Force will be presented with accurate statistics and information. Commissioner Morrison stated that consumers, the industry, and the Division of Insurance will all be involved and present information to the task force. She stated that in addition to women Representative Stephens was talking about, there are also many women who are self employed that are having children that are paying for individual health insurance.
Representative Liston talked about the women in California that had octuplets and the public outcry and said he would like to see that issue looked at during the interim as well. Ms. Morrison said the women did have insurance through Kaiser and that the doctor that helped with her fertilization is being investigated by the medical society.
Representative Casso stated that Chairman Rice would like to discuss the bill and laid it over until Tuesday, February 17 for action only.