Colorado governor signs health legislation |

Colorado governor signs health legislation

Associated Press Writer

DENVER – Gov. Bill Ritter said Monday it’s time to end discrimination in health care as he signed a bill ensuring that women in Colorado will no longer have to pay higher insurance rates than men.

Ritter said gender discrimination allowed insurance companies to charge rates up to 60 percent higher than rates for men.

“This bill ensures access to care and coverage for all at an equitable price and eliminates the financial burden that gender rating puts on women,” he said.

Sen. Gail Schwartz, a Democrat from Snowmass Village, said affordable health care for women will help their children and families.

“Gender should not be considered a preexisting condition,” she said as the governor signed the bill on the steps of the state Capitol.

Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, said Colorado isn’t waiting for Congress to act on health care, despite the historic health care bill signed last week in Washington.

The bill only applies to the individual insurance market, which covers about 130,000 women in Colorado aged 19 to 64. Lawmakers said 90 percent of health insurance plans offered in Colorado used gender rating to determine prices.

Opponents said lawmakers were responsible for many of the rate disparities because they ordered insurance companies to pay for certain tests, including mammograms. They also said women use health care more than man and they should pay more.

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