I know this may sound crazy, but a few recent articles have been discussing the issue of pre-existing condtions that can cause you to be denied health insurance. The one that I think is the most galling is domestic violence. That’s right, if you have been injured or beaten by your significant other and had medical treatment, health insurance companies in 8 states, plus the District of Columbia, will deny you coverage in the future. According to the article on Huffington Post on this awful practice,
Under the cold logic of the insurance industry, it makes perfect sense: If you are in a marriage with someone who has beaten you in the past, you’re more likely to get beaten again than the average person and are therefore more expensive to insure.
This was first exposed by the Service Employees International Union on their blog last week. It is difficult to come up with anything to really about how sick and twisted this is. I will say that domestic violence or abuse is not something which an insurance company should be holding against anyone. It only serves to prevent people from seeking treatment or getting out of an abusive relationship. It can only make the circumstances worse for the person, most often a woman, and makes them a victim of abuse a second time something that was done to them. Maybe we should deny medical treatment to people who beat their spouses or significant others? The answer, in my opinion, is not to deny anyone treatment or coverage, but rather to expand options for people who need treatment.
Another ‘condition’ insurance companies are using to deny coverage or increase rates is women who’ve had c-sections. That’s right, if you’ve been pregnant in the past and had a Caesarean-section you could be denied health insurance or be charged higher premiums. According to an article in the New York Times about a woman who was denied coverage,
When the Golden Rule Insurance Company rejected her application for health coverage last year, Peggy Robertson was mystified.
“It made no sense,” said Ms. Robertson, 39, who lives in Centennial, Colo. “I’m in perfect health.”
She was turned down because she had given birth by Caesarean section. Having the operation once increases the odds that it will be performed again, and if she became pregnant and needed another Caesarean, Golden Rule did not want to pay for it. A letter from the company explained that if she had been sterilized after the Caesarean, or if she were over 40 and had given birth two or more years before applying, she might have qualified.
The circumstances are worse for people trying to purchase health insurance on the individual market,
Anthem Blue Cross’ Singer said that those states have much higher rates for individual insurance coverage than California.
"The point of insurance is to insure against catastrophic care costs. That’s what you’re trying to aggregate and pool for such things as heart attacks and cancer," he said. "Having a child is a matter of choice. Dealing with an adult onset illness, such as diabetes, heart disease breast or prostate cancer, is not a matter of choice."
I’m sorry, but I thought the point of insurance was to help cover medical expenses for health care. Many of the conditions listed such as heart disease and cancer are conditions that are only discovered after doing regular, routine checkups on people who don’t feel any symptoms. Should your health insurance be able to deny you coverage because you chose to have that colonoscopy even though you didn’t believe you had cancer? That would be abusrd, but that’s what we’re talking about when we start denying health care to people.
This all goes back to the issue of health insurance reform that’s been talked about for many months now. There are people who think the United States has the best health care in the world, but how can that be when we know that nearly 50 million uninsured people and we pay more than double, or more, what every other industrialized nation in the world pays and we get the same or worse results. Can anyone honestly defend the idea that a person who was a victim of domestic violence or had a routine, but dangerous, medical procedure should be denied health insurance or charged significantly more? I’d like to hear those thoughts.