Domestic Abuse: A Pre-existing Condition


Insurers in eight states consider domestic violence to be a pre-existing condition, as Ryan Grim of HuffPo reported in this excellent piece. One of them is Mississippi. So the Jackson Free Press spoke to the state’s top regulator, Mike Chaney, to find out how this happened. Chaney blamed the legislature:

“Would I do something about it? Hell, yeah, I’d do something about it, but I’m a regulator, not a legislator. I have to come to terms with that every week,” Chaney said. “The whole situation is bad. Let’s say a woman works with a company that had Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and she gets beat up in her house and Blue Cross says ‘we’re not covering you because getting beat up is your pre-existing condition.’ That’s terrible.”

 

So what do the lawmakers say? Here’s GOP state senator Dean Kirby, until relatively recently the chair of the insurance Committee:

“I didn’t even know we allowed for them to deny coverage due to domestic abuse,” Kirby said. “I wonder how long that’s been on the books, because I certainly didn’t pass it, and I’ve been on the committee for 12 years,” Kirby said. “I would think that the chairman of the insurance committees in the House and Senate would consider seriously changing that law.”

As Grim noted, in 2006 Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) tried to make it illegal to declare domestic abuse a pre-existing condition. But her measure got killed by 10 Republicans—one, Mike Enzi, said such a regulation would make insurance too expensive for everyone else. Murray’s trying again in this year’s health care reform push.

THANK YOU.

We recently wrapped up the crowdfunding campaign for our ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project, and it was a smashing success. About 10,364 readers pitched in with donations averaging $45, and together they contributed about $467,374 toward our $500,000 goal.

That's amazing. We still have donations from letters we sent in the mail coming back to us, so we're on pace to hit—if not exceed—that goal. Thank you so much. We'll keep you posted here as the project ramps up, and you can join the hundreds of readers who have alerted us to corruption to dig into.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.