More on Domestic Violence and Health Reform.

Regarding my earlier post, it's important to point out that insurance company discrimination against domestic violence victims applies regardless of whether the woman is still married to or living with the abuser. In other words, women who have successfully left an abusive relationship and turned their lives around continue to be punished for a crime that was committed against them.

A 1994 Judiciary Committee report found that eight of 16 large insurers considered past domestic violence-related medical claims when choosing whether to insure a customer and what premium to charge her. A 2000 Health and Human Services report on rural domestic violence features this particularly horrific story:

...a woman from rural Minnesota was beaten severely by her ex-husband. After remarrying, she applied for health insurance and was told that should would not be covered for treatment relating to the abuse-related pre-existing conditions of depression and neck injury.

Insurance discrimination against past domestic violence victims is especially pernicious because it discourages victims from reporting abuse. If a woman never informs law enforcement or medical professionals of domestic violence, then she can at least rest assured that she won't lose her health insurance coverage. It's an inhumane system that protects criminals while re-victimizing innocent women.

--Dana Goldstein

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