Wife-Beating Branded a 'Pre-Existing Condition'

Eight states allow insurance firms to deny coverage to abused spouses
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2009 8:30 AM CDT
A 1994 survey of 16 insurance firms by then-Rep. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) found that eight had denied coverage to victims of domestic violence.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – It is legal in eight states and in DC for insurers to reject victims of domestic violence because being beaten up by your spouse qualifies as "a pre-existing health condition" the Huffington Post reports. If you're in a marriage where it's happened once, the logic goes, you're more likely than the average person to get beaten up again. Democrats campaigning for health care reform note that they tried to outlaw the practice three years ago, but were defeated by Republicans on the Senate Health Committee.

Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi—a member of the "Gang of Six" lawmakers trying to forge a bipartisan health bill—was among those who voted it down, arguing that it could increase the price of insurance. A survey of insurance companies in 1994 found eight of 16 wouldn't insure victims of domestic violence.