She's a character, she has opinions.

DV is NOT a pre-existing condition

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“U.S. insurance companies in eight states are not barred from using domestic violence as a pre-existing condition to deny coverage. … A study from the National Women’s Law Center says that in Idaho, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming — as well as the District of Columbia — local laws do not bar insurers from citing domestic violence as a reason to deny policies to applicants.” [Source]

“In 1995, the Boston Globe found that Nationwide, Allstate, State Farm, Aetna, Metropolitan Life, The Equitable Companies, First Colony Life, The Prudential and the Principal Financial Group had all either canceled or denied coverage to women who’d been beaten.” [Source]

Let’s talk about why this is wrong, shall we?

Basically, a pre-existing condition is “a health condition or illness that you have had before your first day of coverage on a new plan.” A health condition or illness. Do you think being abused is a “health condition” or “illness”? I sure as hell don’t. You know why insurance companies do? Because paying for all those injuries caused by abuse and abusers costs them money. Well isn’t that just the sweetest little economically sound policy you’ve ever heard of?

Instead of solving the problem and working toward stopping the abuse some insurance companies apparently think it’s a better idea to level what is the equivalent of a second (or third or tenth) round of violence on to someone who has already been harmed. Adding insult to injury, as they say, because now the victim is being harmed for something that was never her fault–and is not, I say again, a health condition or illness.

Now, say you’re an abused wife who is covered under your husband’s insurance. He wasn’t beating you until after the marriage so his current insurance covers all your broken bones and burns. But, hey, you’re brave enough to try to leave him and, wham, pow, you can’t qualify for insurance on your own because his battering of you is a pre-existing condition that disqualifies you. Just another way of making an abuse victim helpless, but this time it’s an institutionalized one! Remember this when you ask yourself why she doesn’t leave.

Now, say she does leave and does without insurance for her and her kids. Who pays the next time the batterer comes around? (Because battering does not end when she leaves and, in fact, often becomes worse.) We pay. We pay because she’s hurt and she can’t get medical care so she can’t work. Her place of business pays because she can’t be there. People who depend on the income she now can’t earn pay. Her family pays both economically by helping her if they can and emotionally by watching all this happen. We all pay because this is one more reason victims are unable to leave violent relationships even when they want to. The only one who really doesn’t pay in this situation is the insurance company, and boy oh boy am I glad they won’t be suffering because of domestic abuse. Phew.

Healthcare reform? Hell, we need societal reform.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Call for help, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474 or TTY 1-866-331-8453

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Written by tldegray

October 6, 2009 at 3:06 am

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