Did you know that domestic violence can be considered a pre-existing condition by health insurance companies? If you have a history of abuse, your insurance company can legally deny you coverage or increase your premiums. Horrifying, right?
Since the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, there are new provisions that assist victims of domestic violence in getting coverage, and there are even more on the horizon. Here are a few quick facts about how health reform can help:
If You Need Coverage: If you've lost your coverage based on a preexisting condition (including a history of domestic violence), you can enter your state's high risk insurance pool and get health care coverage. Click here to learn more about eligibility requirements for this program. Likewise, if you have a preexisting condition and need coverage, health reform established a Pre-Existing Condition Health Insurance Plan. To learn more, and to sign up, visit PCIP.gov.
**Your state may have a policy that stops health insurance providers from discriminating against victims of domestic violence. The National Women's Law Center has a helpful breakdown of different state policies.
What's up next?
- In August 2012, domestic violence counseling and screening will become a preventive service that insurance policies will have to offer without cost sharing.
- In 2014, plans like Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans and High Risk Insurance Pools will no longer be necessary, since insurance companies will not be able to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions and cannot charge more for care based on health or gender.
Domestic Violence in the News: The Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Right now, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is on the floor of the Senate, awaiting reauthorization. According to the National Women's Law Center, VAWA was the first federal law that acknowledged domestic violence and sexual assault as crimes. It was enacted in 1994, and has been reauthorized twice since. It's a crucial piece of legislation that also provides supports and funding for programs that assist victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Here's what you can do to help:
- Take Action: Call your Senator and ask them to support the reauthorization of VAWA! You can use this handy tool from The American Association of University Women. The National Women's Law Center has a handy script to help you decide what to say once you're on the phone
- Learn more: Find out more about VAWA by checking out the "Tell Congress to Reauthorize VAWA" blog carnival from HERVotes.