Domestic violence is a “pre-existing condition”?!

Incredibly disturbing news from the SEIU blog:

[I]n DC and nine other states, including Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming, insurance companies have gone too far, claiming that “domestic violence victim” is also a pre-existing condition.

For more information, read the National Women’s Law Center report, Nowhere to Turn: How the Individual Health Insurance Market Fails Women.
Related: A cartoon from Mikhaela Reid
UPDATE: In April, Arkansas prohibited insurance discrimination against DV survivors

Join the Conversation

  • Gular

    Fucking disgusting. Laws need to be changed now.

  • MLEmac28

    of course arkansas is one of them…….

  • cattrack2

    DV as a pre-existing condition is sickening–in addition to making no sense.
    Others (such as maternity in the case of the cartoon) make sense. Insurance is a risk pooling mechanism. If you only purchase maternity insurance when you’re pregnant, or about to become pregnant, then you’re essentially “free riding”. You’re only paying into the risk pool when you know your numbers up, as opposed to paying into it regularly. It’d be like if I could purchase unemployment insurance just before I knew I was going to be fired, or layed off. That’s why Uncle Sam makes you pay for it in each paycheck.

  • allegra

    Wow. Fucking amazing. Why, yes, I definitely trust d-bag insurance companies who blame women for their own victimization more than I trust “the guvmint.”

  • aleks

    Being the victim of domestic abuse raises your chance of getting hurt, and makes it less profitable to insure you. It’s evil, but it makes as much sense as not covering other preexisting conditions (including my Crohn’s disease). A battered woman and a guy in frequent need of medical supplies and occasional major surgery are both bad bets, and insurance is about betting that people you cover will pay more than they collect. There ought to be a law against acting that way with human lives, and hopefully there will be soon, but in the absence of coercion you can’t be surprised when an HMO doesn’t want to cover someone who is likely to need care. Corporations aren’t human and don’t act out of human goodness. An HMO that acted charitably would be swamped with high risk clients (like me), have to raise prices, lose healthy clients and would either become evil (as Blue Cross did) or go out of business. That’s why we need laws to compel the kind of behavior we want.

  • Terabithia

    Exactly. This just highlights why health insurance should be a social service rather than a business. But if it is a business, DV makes as much sense as a pre-existing condition as anything else does. They’re all about the statistics, and someone who gets beaten up in their home is statistically more likely to need medical care, just like someone who has diabetes is more likely to need medical care. Its not fair, but it makes financial sense.

  • prettyinpink

    Another reason why those companies should NOT BE IN CHARGE OF OUR HEALTH.

  • cattrack2

    That’s an interesting point you raise Aleks & I agree with the logic of it. But I question the data behind it. DV has a wide range of manifestations and violence. I would suspect that the majority of DV victims require little if any medical care. Rihanna, for instance, was involved in a tragic case of DV yet did not require hospitalization. This is akin to making alcoholism a pre-existing condition based on the fact that it leads to drunken driving.

  • aleks

    I don’t know anything about the statistics, but I’m willing to bet a battered wife and mother of three in Seattle has a higher risk of serious injury than a wife and mother of three in Seattle who doesn’t get beat up by someone who lives in her house. A perfectly healthy clean living 19 year old boy could get hit by a car and need millions of dollars worth of medical attention for years. But it’s the job of the HMO’s’ Death Panels to determine who’s likely to need care and deny them coverage.

  • jellyleelips

    Even if the majority require little medical care, the type of care needed tends to get more expensive as the dv continues. First bruises, then scratches, then broken bones and concussions, possibly surgery to fix facial bones, then, you know, death… Yeah, I’d say dv victims need medical care. Rihanna should not be used as anyone’s barometer of what “average” domestic violence looks like. Sure, there are average patterns of abusive behavior, but what kind of violence an abuser may cause is totally unpredictable. Also, it’s really not akin to alcoholism; addiction to a substance is ultimately the responsibility of the addict to control, whereas an “addiction” (if you will) to an abusive relationship is ultimately the responsibility of the abuser, not the victim.

  • pepper

    But Obama is a devil Nazi socalist shepherding in the new McCarthy era.

  • NWLC

    Actually, there’s been a positive development on that front – in April, Arkansas passed a law prohibiting insurance discrimination against domestic violence survivors. Here’s more info on that: http://www.womenstake.org/2009/04/motivated-by-nwlcs-report-card-ar-advocates-successfully-push-for-law-prohibiting-insurance-discrimi.html

  • NellieBlyArmy

    Eh, companies are made up of people. Some genius douchebag of a person came up with this plan. Others approved it, wrote it up, refuse claims based on it, etc, etc. People did that. Maybe they have the end-goal of forwarding the company or (more likely) getting a promotion by saving the company money, but they’re still people and I can expect them to act human.

  • pepper

    I realize standing alone my comment could be construed as a troll. I’m only referencing signs outside all the town hall meetings. The most confusing sign called Obama both the new McCarthy and a socialist.

  • alixana

    Rather than appearing trollish, I think your above comment perfectly captured and mocked the sheer contradictory nonsense that people have been spewing.

  • Mrs.s

    I just..wow. This is fucking ridiculous and I’m ashamed to say that I live in DC, which is one of the areas named. I’m so dissappointed.

  • aleks

    You can expect them to be unicorns if you want. Show me some major corporations acting benevolently against the interests of their profitability and shareholders and we’ll talk humanity. Until that becomes a norm, I want fucking laws.