Man and woman may have been created equal, but inequity persists, even at the level of visitors medical insurance. In fact, many health insurance plans, especially long-term health insurance plans, charge a higher premium for women than men. And why is that?

Detailed actuarial studies have shown that young women tend to use more medical facilities than young men. After their 50s, though, men tend to use more medical facilities than women, owing to the onset of chronic illness such as hypertension and cardiac problems.

Several states have banned the practice of gender-based insurance rates. California banned the practice recently, and four other states have already banned differential rates for men and women. The differential rates are usually applied to individual health plans, and not to group plans.

Insurance companies, however, argue that the rates are based on detailed studies and usage patterns, and outlawing different rates for men and women will only serve to increase the premium. While the policies might not affect typical short-term health insurance rates, it is good to know the factors that make up the health insurance premium that you pay.