Domestic Violence is a “pre-existing condition”

I am so angry. SO ANGRY. I can’t even come up with words to express how enraged I am.

According to LiveStrong, domestic violence is considered a pre-existing condition and nine states allow healthcare companies to deny coverage over it.

There’s already an arsenal of reasons why women don’t report domestic violence or get the medical care they need when suffering from DV; adding to the equation the risk of being unable to get health insurance in the future is a very compelling reason why women may continue to keep quiet about violence.

I disagree completely with the idea that insurance companies should be able to deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions; in general it’s a ridiculous concept. However, denying coverage based on having experienced domestic violence is even worse. DV victims are already undergoing severe emotional strains, so to deny health insurance (which they may need to cover their children, or potentially to actually escape their violent relationship) is only going to make the situation worse.

One of the worst parts about denying coverage to DV victims is that it suggests that they will be a continued expense. IE because they have been victimized before, it will probably happen again, and therefore they are high-risk to insure. That smacks of victim-blaming and saying that women are somehow responsible for DV. After all, if the DV incidents weren’t somehow related to the battered person, why would the insurance assume that the violence will continue?

I’m absolutely broiling with anger and sadness about this. I’m fairly certain I have a lot more to say, but I just can’t get my thoughts coherent right now.

Although, as a closing note, I’d like to make mention of the fact that because of my own bias, I did constantly refer to DV victims as women. First off, yes, men are victims of DV as well, and in many ways, they face at least as many hurdles as women do in getting help, due to the stigma on men seeming “weak,” especially compared to a female partner. However, female-on-male DV is only a tiny fraction of the DV problem. Also, homosexual couples often have high rates of DV, and that is certainly not to be overlooked. I wonder, though, how often their DV is actually recorded as such in medical records; do doctors file, say, a gay man who has been battered as being in a fight, or being a DV victim?

Domestic violence is an enormous problem and it stretches umbrella-esque over the lives of victims and into the lives of those around them. Something that may seem contained–such as being unable to get health insurance–is not just an isolated problem but rather a problem with far-reaching ripples of influence, and it is indicative of how many challenges and stigmas still permeate the DV issue.

On top of all that, I’d like to also note that pregnancy is considered a condition for which “most” insurance companies will turn down applicants.

I had so much more I wanted to write about today, too, but then this article showed up and kind of trumped all the less depressing stuff I wanted to write about. Thanks, world, for breaking my heart.

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02/17/2010. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized.

One Comment

  1. H replied:

    The health insurance industry is so corrupt, that when I hear of things like this, I am no longer surprised. It’s sick and appalling that things like this are accepted in a country that calls itself “advanced”.

    Have you seen the documentary “Every F—ing Day of My Life” (also called “One Minute to Nine”)? It’s about a DV victim and it will surely anger you. I don’t know if you have HBO, but it was on On Demand not long ago and might still be there. It’s about a woman who was tortured and severely battered by her nutcase and controlling husband for 20 years. Her and her son killed him to protect her and her other children. They were sentenced to 10 years in prison. It is pretty fucked up and backwards. Anyway, see it if you haven’t seen it. It’s a very well-done documentary and will break your heart.

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