Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Domestic Violence is a "pre-existing condition"....


I couldn't believe it when I first heard about it either. But apparently in DC, and 8 other states--Idaho, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming--being a victim of domestic violence is enough for insurance companies to deny a woman coverage.

The Service Employees International Union covered this story in their blog this past Friday:

"Words cannot describe the sheer inhumanity of this claim. It serves as yet further proof that our insurance system is broken, destroyed by the profit-mongering of the very companies whose sole purpose should be to provide Americans with access to care when they need it most."

The system is failing women! Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women as 85-95% of DV victims are women.

What are the insurance companies thinking?! Most likely, they are engrossed in statistics about the cost of domestic violence to them. According to the American Institute on Domestic Violence, health related costs of rape, physical assault, stalking and homicide by intimate partners amounts to over $5.8 billion per year and the cost of victims requiring direct medical and mental health care is a little over $4 billion.

Are these not services that survivors deserve? Is this a punishment for being a victim? Is this how women are supposed to be treated after they've been mistreated?

photo courtesy of flickr.com


Danielle said...

From HuffPo:

The SEIU asked members to write letters to Congress regarding the exclusion and have quickly generated hundreds, says an SEIU spokeswoman.

The relevant provision:


'(a) IN GENERAL.--A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage may not establish rules for eligibility (including continued eligibility) of any individual to enroll under the terms of the plan or coverage based on any of the following health status-related factors in relation to the individual or a dependent of the individual:

(1) Health status.

(2) Medical condition (including both physical and mental illnesses).

(3) Claims experience.

(4) Receipt of health care.

(5) Medical history.

(6) Genetic information.

(7) Evidence of insurability (including conditions arising out of acts of domestic violence).

(8) Disability.

(9) Any other health status-related factor determined appropriate by the Secretary.

UPDATE: The eight states that still allow it are Idaho, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming, according to a report by the National Women's Law Center.


WendyM said...

I read that yesterday. Infuriating on so many different levels, it's not even funny.