Friday, September 18, 2009

Domestic violence a 'pre-existing condition' for insurers in some states

Domestic violence a 'pre-existing condition' for insurers in some states
In 1994, an informal survey conducted by the Subcommittee on Crime and Criminal Justice of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee revealed that 8 of the 16 largest insurers in the country used domestic violence as a factor when deciding whether to extend coverage and how much to charge if coverage was extended.

The Service Employees International Union, which is pressing for reform of the health insurance system, wrote about the domestic violence insurance issue at its blog on 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 10 Senators who vetoed insurance protection for domestic violence survivors reported 9/17/09 that health insurance companies in a number of states and D.C. are allowed by law to treat domestic violence as a pre-existing condition for which they can deny individual coverage. The story was met with outrage, but it gets even worse. In 2006 a Senate committee considered an amendment to the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act that would have required insurers to stop ignoring state laws that make it illegal for them to deny coverage to domestic violence survivors -- and 10 Senators, all Republicans, voted against it. They were:

* Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)
* Richard Burr (R-N.C.)
* John Ensign (R-Nev.)
* Mike Enzi (R-Wy.)
* Bill Frist (R-Tenn.)
* Judd Gregg (R-N.H.)
* Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)
* Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.)
* Pat Roberts (R-Kan.)
* Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)


atorres said...

Apparently, in 2000 there was a Senate Bill 464 in GA that the GA Commission worked on passing to prohibit "pinklining" which I think is a term given to when insurance companies unfairly discriminate against domestic violence victims by forcing them to pay more for insurance or denying them coverage. I wonder if that bill is still in place and what the status is of that law. It is just so disturbing on so many levels the ways in which insurance companies and the politicians who support them, make profits off of people's particular marginalized groups.

Marilyn said...

According to the article, supposedly in Georgia the practice is illegal-I haven't researched it. What is disturbing about it was that our Georgia Sen. Isaakson was one of the (all republican) senators who voted against making the practice illegal nationwide. Marilyn