BOSTON – Today, Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito were joined by House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senator Jason Lewis, Representative Ruth Balser, members of the Legislature and a coalition of groups led by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women to participate in the ceremonial signing of An Act Providing for Equitable Coverage in Disability Policies. The legislation prohibits insurers that offer disability insurance from charging higher premiums or otherwise setting terms and conditions of coverage based solely on gender, race, religion, national origin, or other personal characteristics.
“I am pleased to sign this bill ensuring everyone in the Commonwealth has fair and equal access to insurance,” said Governor Baker. “We thank the Legislature for working with our Administration to pass this important legislation, delivering lower insurance rates for women and families across the state.”
“This legislation provides necessary protections for women and families in Massachusetts to receive insurance at the appropriate rate,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “I am proud that the Commonwealth continues to be a leader in equality and am grateful to our partners in the Legislature for working to get this bill passed.”
“Thanks to the hard work of Representative Balser, House members, and advocates, this new law – 10 years in making – protects consumers across Massachusetts and result in a healthier Commonwealth,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “Massachusetts will always stand with its citizens and safeguard against discrimination of any kind.”
“Women’s rights groups have been working to eliminate gender discrimination in insurance since the 1970s when Massachusetts adopted the Equal Rights amendment to our state constitution,” said Representative Ruth Balser. “Slowly and incrementally, Massachusetts has eliminated gender disparities in most insurance products including automobile, homeowners, health, and annuities. Today we have eliminated the unfair practice of charging women more than men for the same disability protection. Many thanks to the large coalition of groups led by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, the legislature, and the Governor for insisting that Massachusetts continues to lead when it comes to ensuring equality for all.”
“On the long march to gender equality, the passage of this bill is another step forward,” said Senator Jason Lewis, the bill’s lead sponsor in the state Senate. “Thank you to Rep. Balser and the advocates who worked tirelessly for many years to pass this legislation; it will improve fairness and lower insurance premiums for tens of thousands of women in Massachusetts.”
“We are pleased to join Governor Baker, Rep. Balser and Sen. Lewis in celebration of this victory for women’s economic security, and to affirm the Commonwealth’s commitment to equality under the law,” said Nina Kimball, Chair of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women.