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As the House and Senate take aim at the health insurance industry, a large trade group offered to end the long-running practice of charging women higher premiums than men for the same coverage. The move, made by America’s Health Insurance Plans, comes as Congress and the White House look for drastic change in the $2.5 trillion industry. Health insurance companies are desperately trying to stave off reform, even to the point of embracing extensive regulation.

This latest concession would be significant. Women are forced to pay much higher premiums than men for insurance, in part because "claims experience" indicates that women are more likely than men to use health care services. At a time when premiums are increasing dramatically, women face higher rates than their male counterparts. Advocacy groups have decried the premium gap as unacceptable, unjustifiable, and discriminatory. In many cases, the lack of access to affordable health care can have dire consequences. The time to end this unfortunate practice is long overdue.

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