Make Men Pay

After some noodling with 30 year term policies for 50-year olds fitting my wife and my descriptions, the Coyote think tank has unearthed this devastating chart:

This is based on quotes for $1,000,000 in term insurance on a 30-year policy as quoted at for a fifty-year-old man and woman  (male: $2990, female $2020 or 48% more expensive for men).

What is your reaction to this?  If it is something like, "no sh*t, women live longer so their insurance is going to be cheaper," then you are a normal rational human being that understands that more expensive risks require higher premiums.

But the Obama administration does not see things this way at all.  More expensive premiums for more expensive risks are used by the administration to demagogue to favored constituency groups that they are somehow being hosed and only Obama can protect them.  I mean, why else would the Administration release this chart:

Just a few weeks ago a grad student from Georgetown became famous for talking about all the expensive and special needs that women have that need to be covered in health insurance.  So of course their insurance is more expensive.

Here is a perfectly accurate way to re-label this chart

So here is the Obama algorithm.  If men are more expensive to insure, men should pay the difference.  If women are more expensive to insure, men should pay the difference.


  1. Bruce Hall:

    And don't forget those 18-25 year old males who get rocked for car insurance.

    It's called discrimination. Not an arbitrary bias, but the ability to discern real and important differences and act accordingly.

  2. Ted Rado:

    If one argues that women live longer and hence should have lower life insurance cost, then one must argue that men should get larger pensions because they die sooner. If you are going to use actuarial data to set premiums, then in all fairness it should be done across the board. Don't just pick and choose those areas that benefit you and to hell with the other person.

    Women's groups seem to be always harping on things that they see as unfair to women. I have NEVER seen them insist that they get a smaller pension than men. Step up to the plate, girls!!

  3. NL_:

    You can guess men pay more for life insurance. The typical life insurance ad shows a widow and children, sometimes big-eyed children and sometimes a teary-eyed woman in black. Blatantly targeted at husbands.

    Which makes sense, since the typical understanding is that life insurance has to cover the lost earning potential of the primary breadwinner, who in most families is likely to be the man. That trend continues to unwind as women become more educated than men and more likely to work in service or office contexts than men. But for now, men are more likely to earn the greater income and therefore more likely to seek insurance.

    Sidenote: most people are underinsuring the stay at home parent; there can be massive family costs to losing the uncompensated labor of the spouse in terms of childrearing, housekeeping, etc. So maybe people ought to respond to lower costs of insuring women by buying life insurance for a part-time or stay at home wife.

    It's possible women use more health care, for whatever reason, than men. I only go to the doctor after repeated requests from women (my girlfriend and my mom). I wouldn't be shocked if somebody had studies showing men underuse health care and women don't. Especially if you consider that custodial mothers are more common custodial fathers, and people are more likely to get medical care for their kids. I have no idea if these are true, but they might explain some of the gap. It also might be something as prosaic as "women will pay more" on average, which is the explanation some pay-gap studies have given.

  4. Benjamin Cole:

    Very smart commentary.

    It is not PC to say it, but lonely old ladies are often hypochondriacs, and use up a lot of our health care time and dollar.

    In general, after 80 years of age, euthanasia is probably the best form of health care. Not PC to say it, but say that, or give your wallet to private insurers and Uncle Sam.

    No one would insure the over-80 crowd except by huge subsidies.

  5. Doug:

    @Benjamin Cole: "In general, after 80 years of age, euthanasia is probably the best form of health care." Spoken like a typical less-than-80-year-old! How about another possibility: either save your own damned money for your 80s and beyond, or submit to heavy-handed government death panels. Not everyone is as dependent on their government masters as you seem to be.

  6. Don:

    Hmmm... all those "blue" states appear to also be the places with the most expensive health coverage.

    Coincidence? :^)

  7. Asleep at the Keyboard:

    Problem with your graph: doesn't Montana prohibit gender distinction in life (and all other) insurance?