This week, Terry Fromson, Managing Attorney here at the Women’s Law Project, appeared on CNN to shed light on some health insurers’ practice of denying health coverage to survivors of domestic violence.
Health insurance companies can deny coverage to abuse survivors in eight states under the pretense that it’s a pre-existing condition and that the victims are “living dangerous lifestyles” that require the company to pay more in benefits.
Fromson noted that the WLP has been working on this issue since the 1990s, when the practice was more widespread: a report issued by WLP and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Insurance Discrimination against Victims of Domestic Violence (PDF), states:
Many insurance companies deny victims of domestic violence access to insurance by using domestic violence as an underwriting criterion (i.e., a basis for determining who to cover, what to cover, and how much to charge). They also deny coverage on the basis of abuse-related medical conditions and claims. Such discrimination occurs in all lines of insurance — health, life, disability, and property and casualty (i.e., homeowners, personal automobile, and commercial property and automobile).
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi promises that the practice will not continue after health care reform legislation is passed.