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Women & Health Reform: The Latest Data

Posted by Judy Waxman, Vice President for Health and Reproductive Rights | Posted on: October 20, 2009 at 07:14 pm

By Judy Waxman,Vice President for Health and Reproductive Rights,
National Women's Law Center  

This morning, we released a new report, Still Nowhere to Turn: Insurance Companies Treat Women Like a Pre-Existing Condition, uncovering the latest data on the disparities women face in health care coverage. Some of our findings included:

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Insurance Company: Rape Survivor? Nope, We Won't Take Her

Posted by Amanda Stone, Fellow | Posted on: October 20, 2009 at 06:26 pm

by Amanda Stone, Volunteer, 
National Women's Law Center 

“Nope, we won’t take her.” This is what insurance companies in Florida said when asked whether they would provide insurance coverage to a hypothetical applicant who had survived rape. Let’s back up a few steps. First, who was asking the question? Second, why was the applicant’s history posed as a hypothetical? Third, what can we do to change this dire situation?

Chris Turner, a health insurance agent from Tampa Florida, and a rape survivor, was the person asking the question. Chris spoke of her survival story at the National Women’s Law Center launch of the “Being A Woman Is Not A Pre-Existing Condition” campaign early this morning. In November 2002, she was drugged and raped while on a business trip. She sought medical help from her physician, who put her on preventative anti-HIV medication, since there was no way of knowing whether the person who raped her used a condom. Following her assault, Chris was afraid to leave her house for some time. About a month after the assault, Chris gathered the courage to seek counseling to deal with her fears-counseling which continued for about a year. She took the steps she needed to take care of herself, and the steps she now encourages other rape survivors to take as a volunteer at a Florida organization called SOAR-Speaking Out About Rape. As a volunteer, she warns rape survivors about a harm which she faced-she tells them, “if you lose your insurance, you might not be able to get it back.” This is exactly what happened to Chris.

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Being a Woman Is Not a Pre-Existing Condition

Posted by Judy Waxman, Vice President for Health and Reproductive Rights | Posted on: October 20, 2009 at 01:30 pm

by Judy Waxman, Vice President for Health and Reproductive Rights, 
National Women's Law Center 

I don’t deserve health care that meets my needs. 
I shouldn’t demand fairness in my health care coverage.
I can’t do anything about it anyway.

That’s what the health insurance profiteers want you to think.

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The Woman Who Got It Right

Posted by Rachel Peck, Fellow | Posted on: October 19, 2009 at 05:54 pm

by Rachel Peck, Family Economic Security Fellow, 
National Women’s Law Center 

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Domestic Violence and Why We Need Guaranteed Issue Health Coverage for Everyone

Posted by Micole Allekotte, Fellow | Posted on: October 19, 2009 at 01:16 pm

by Micole Allekotte, Health Fellow, 
National Women's Law Center 

At the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing last week Senator Burr asked Marcia Greenberger, NWLC’s Co-President, to talk about a sentence in the Center’s Nowhere to Turn report regarding domestic violence and state insurance laws. Marcia didn’t get a chance to fully answer his question, so the Center would like to clarify for anyone who is actually interested in the answers to their questions.

First, what the report said. “It is still legal in nine states and D.C. for insurers to reject applicants who are survivors of domestic violence.” Thankfully, since that time one of the states on that list, Arkansas, followed the lead of the other 41 states that had already banned this practice and passed legislation ensuring that domestic violence victims cannot be denied coverage based on that status. That leaves eight states and the District of Columbia that do not ban the insurance company practice of denying coverage to women who are survivors of domestic violence. 

So now 42 states have taken action to ensure that survivors of domestic violence are not discriminated against by insurance companies.  Why are these laws necessary?  A bit of history, also from the Center’s Nowhere to Turn report.  “In the early 1990s, advocates discovered that insurers had denied applications for coverage submitted by women who had experienced domestic violence.”  This information was confirmed by a survey by a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, in which half of the largest insurance companies in the country admitted that they “used domestic violence as a factor when deciding whether to issue insurance and how much to charge.” Apparently the insurance companies found nothing wrong with this practice. 

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What Women Want: Equal Benefits for Equal Premiums

Posted by Candace Webb, Outreach Manager | Posted on: October 16, 2009 at 03:37 pm

by Candace Webb, Outreach Manager, 
National Women's Law Center 

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Women Are Denied Fair Health Care Every Day

Posted by | Posted on: October 14, 2009 at 05:18 pm

by Robin Reed, Online Outreach Manager, 
National Women's Law Center 

Denied_icon Being a woman is not a pre-existing condition.

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