22 October 2009

Rape is a pre-existing condition

Charming, if true. I'm so glad we have Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln working tirelessly on the Hill to protect and preserve the insurance companies and their profits.

Christina Turner feared that she might have been sexually assaulted after two men slipped her a knockout drug. She thought she was taking proper precautions when her doctor prescribed a month's worth of anti-AIDS medicine.

Only later did she learn that she had made herself all but uninsurable.

Turner had let the men buy her drinks at a bar in Fort Lauderdale. The next thing she knew, she said, she was lying on a roadside with cuts and bruises that indicated she had been raped. She never developed an HIV infection. But months later, when she lost her health insurance and sought new coverage, she ran into a problem.

Turner, 45, who used to be a health insurance underwriter herself, said the insurance companies examined her health records. Even after she explained the assault, the insurers would not sell her a policy because the HIV medication raised too many health questions. They told her they might reconsider in three or more years if she could prove that she was still AIDS-free.


I will say that I have some concerns whether this is true, the source being the Huffington Post and all.  On the other hand, it's certainly within the realm of possibility and fits the pattern of behavior long exhibited by the insurance companies, so I'm inclined to grant it some credibility unless or until it is debunked.

As health insurance reform nears passage, it's stories like this that remind us why we need to hold fast and get the job done.  These bastards have brought it upon themselves with their despicable practices.

7 comments:

  1. I know what you mean about the HuffPo--the celebrity gossip rubbish and woo-indulgence by various contributors has a way of tainting everything on the site (and there *are* some very good sources and writers therein)--but please, please, PLEASE take this issue seriously, folks.

    Because it's true. And not only do insurers consider a woman's having been raped a pre-existing condition, they also charge higher premiums--or deny coverage--to domestic violence survivors, women who've been pregnant, and women who've had C-sections.

    In fact, a 40-year-old woman non-smoker will, on average, pay higher premiums for healthcare insurance than a 40-year-old male smoker.

    From a report by the National Women's Law Center (it's a PDF):

    Insurers in the individual market can reject a woman’s application altogether or exclude coverage for the care she needs based on “pre-existing conditions,” which may include pregnancy, having previously had a C-section or received fertility treatment, being a survivor of domestic violence, or having had medical treatment following a sexual assault.

    Cleraly we need serious reform. Now.

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  2. While in residency I had a needle stick injury. I duly reported this to my program director, who wrote me a prescription for combivir, opened his wallet and gave me two $20s. He told me, "Use this cash to pay for the prescription, whatever you do, don't give the pharmacy your insurance card." He explained his reasoning that I might have trouble obtaining health insurance down the line otherwise.
    Thankfully the patient from whom the needle came turned out to be HIV negative and I am now well insured.

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  3. My friend sent me a link to the Huffington Post article the other day, and man, it turned my stomach.
    This is evidence that we not only need health care reform, but that we need to reform our rape-culture. I know some people will think this is an extreme view, but I PERSONALLY am of the opinion that 1) money should not be an impetus to further victimize victims; and 2) essentially, policies that make it harder for survivors of violence to come forward are policies that indirectly condone rape.

    Lastly, as a lady who isn't exactly rolling in dough, I really resent the fact that I* (*women) am being financially punished for my biology: (birth control, abortion, fees associated with pregnancy, unpaid leave...) and then potentially punished for being a victim of a hate crime. Our patriarchal culture discriminates, doing nearly everything to make being born a woman a condition in which it is harder to flourish. and that's just the FINANCIAL implications of being a woman!

    ~caroline

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  4. I am dubious of the report, purely based upon her age of 45. The oldest women I've examined for sexual assault was about 35. I've done many sexual assault exams, but never on a 45 year old.

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  5. @Caroline,
    You are not "punished by patriarchy". Are you lashing out, or denying the reality of biology? Are you lashing out at men for the reality of biology? You can not win a battle against biology.

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  6. @JZ
    no one is denying biology. but when a CULTURE treats you differently because of your biology the CULTURE is what needs changing. That is true of the biology that dictates the color of your skin, or the shape your face, etc etc.

    Jeez o pete. I can tell you are someone who feels that calling out patriarchy means all attacking men personally. That is not the case. Please do not misconstrue finding fault with social norms as finding fault with a single gender as a group. this is neither the case I was making nor is it helpful in any way culturally.

    WHY would anyone say that calling that culture into question qualifies as "lashing out"? Mine is is not an irrational argument. It is undeniable that discrimination happens, and why should women (or anyone?) have to live with discrimination because of their biology?? Do Jews "lash out" at antisemitism? Do African Americans "lash out" when they ask to be treated equally? People protesting prejudice is not "lashing out," they are making a rational call for justice.

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