How Does Gender Affect Health Insurance Premiums in India?
How Does Gender Affect Health Insurance Premiums in India?
Posted On : 18 January 2021, 8 Months Ago. Health-Insurance
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Oftentimes, a medical emergency shows up at the most unexpected of moments. For this reason, being adequately prepared with a health insurance plan is vital. The factors that affect a health insurance premium in India include a slew of things like one’s state of health, age, whether one smokes or not, one’s medical history, and even one’s gender. Yes, you read correctly — gender can impact your health insurance premium costs. Curious to know how individual health insurance varies based on gender? Keep reading to find out.


What is Gender Rating?


The practice as seen followed by some health insurance providers where a higher premium is charged towards those of different gender (for instance, women) is known as ‘gender rating.’ An insurer will opt for risk-based pricing, which will assess the policyholder for morbidity, accident, and mortality risks. Gender is also a factor that influences these risks. The reason for this is that gender differences in medical conditions are likely to affect how often the policyholder ill bill the insurance policy.

For this reason, health insurance plans tend to hike up premium costs for women of childbearing age as compared to that for men. However, insurance premiums start to reduce for women even more than those charged to men after the age of 60. This is because women tend to live longer than men and the prevalence of certain common illnesses that affect senior citizens are more common in men. Hence, premium differences are meant to be reflective of claim cost differences.


Why the Variations in Health Insurance Premiums?


As per a 2014 survey carried out by ASSOCHAM India, about 42% of working women suffer from some type of lifestyle ailment like obesity, backache, depression, hypertension, diabetes, and heart ailments. As the number of women that enter the workforce increases, it is vital that women have access to all the medical facilities they require without those facilities becoming a financial burden for these women.

During the reproductive ages of 15 to 44, women are more likely to take prescriptions and make doctor visits. Hence, they end up paying higher health insurance premiums than men of the same age group. Around 20% of women within the childbearing age group are likely to experience heavier than average bleeding during their menstruation, 15% of them have chronic pelvic pain. All in all, about one out of every twenty-eight women shows the signs of developing breast cancer at least once during their lifetime.

To counteract the higher premium costs, however, insurance companies tend to offer female-centric plans that come with added benefits such as those of maternity. As women are a lot more susceptible to chronic ailments especially around the time of pregnancy, they could run up a higher medical bill during their lifetime when compared to men. For this reason, women pay a higher premium amount. As they age, however, studies indicate that the proportion of death or disability observed from heart disease was significantly more in men than women. This is also why health insurance premiums are much more for men than they are for women at the same age.




While health insurance policies try to be as impartial as possible, with gender differences in the prevalence of disease and disability, premium costs are likely to vary accordingly. Gender, just like smoking habits, age, health status, and other such factors, is among the key elements that serve in conjunction with one’s lifestyle choices, to determine how expensive health insurance premiums are. Earlier on in their financial protection journey, women may pay higher premiums than men, but these costs are reversed during old age.

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