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State Efforts to Eliminate Health Insurance Discrimination Against Domestic Violence Survivors

Posted by Amanda Stone, Fellow | Posted on: November 04, 2009 at 05:48 pm

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

Imagine this: you are in a relationship with a partner who takes out his or her aggression on you. Everyday, you must walk on eggshells to try to avoid conflict with your partner and the sometimes physical assaults that follow. Now imagine that you gather the strength to leave your abusive relationship. You seek a divorce. As a result, you will no longer be covered on your partner’s health insurance. “No problem,” you think. “I will get my own insurance and start my life over.” And then you realize that your state or jurisdiction does not prevent insurance companies from denying you a new policy based on your status as a domestic violence survivor. You may be denied health insurance based on the past assaults you faced at the hands of your partner. You are re-victimized. Is this a problem? Yes. In a handful of states and in the District of Columbia, there are no laws on the books to explicitly prevent insurance companies from denying individuals insurance policies or reimbursement for specific services based on their status as a victim or survivor of domestic violence.

However, there is some good news! Five of the 8 jurisdictions that do not explicitly prohibit health insurance discrimination based on domestic violence have made efforts to address this problem: 

  • In October 2009, the District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking issued a bulletin warning insurers not to use domestic violence as a factor when issuing health insurance policies.
  • In September 2009, Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chancy called upon the state legislature to take action banning discrimination against survivors of domestic violence.
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Scenes from Today's Vigil - Women's Day of Action for Health Care Reform

Posted by Robin Reed, Director of Online Communications | Posted on: November 04, 2009 at 05:06 pm

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

Today, we're braving the chill in Dupont Circle here in Washington, D.C., for our vigil for the Women's Day of Action for Health Care Reform. From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., we're reading health care stories from women and families from across the country.

If you're in town, we hope you'll stop by! If not, we're glad to have you with us in spirit -- and please remember to call Congress to demand health care reform now!

Here are some scenes from the vigil so far: 

Vigil2

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Women Blog for Health Care 2009 - The Posts

Posted by | Posted on: November 04, 2009 at 03:22 pm

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

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Make the Call for Health Care Reform

Posted by Judy Waxman, Vice President for Health and Reproductive Rights | Posted on: November 04, 2009 at 02:31 pm

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

We’re making most of the health care decisions at home. So why aren’t we making them in Washington, D.C.? 

It’s time for YOU to the make the call.

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Women's Day of Action for Health Care Reform - Today's the Day!

Posted by | Posted on: November 04, 2009 at 01:06 pm

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

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All-Day Vigil in D.C. for Women and Health Reform Tomorrow

Posted by Thao Nguyen, Director of Outreach | Posted on: November 04, 2009 at 01:16 am

by Thao Nguyen, Outreach Manager, 
National Women's Law Center 

Do you live in Washington, D.C.? Come out and be part of our all-day vigil (from 9 am to 9 pm) in Dupont Circle. 

We'll be reading health care stories from women and families from across the country. 

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