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Policy denials allowed for domestic abuse

Oct. 4, 2009 at 7:04 PM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- U.S. insurance companies in eight states are not barred from using domestic violence as a pre-existing condition to deny coverage, a study indicates.

The study from the National Women's Law Center says that in Idaho, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming -- as well as the District of Columbia -- local laws do not bar insurers from citing domestic violence as a reason to deny policies to applicants, McClatchy News Service reported Sunday.

"It infuriates me an insurance executive can sit in his safe world and decide how to make money," Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., told McClatchy. "For them it's all about the bottom line. Abused women don't have a voice."

The news service said at least one of the healthcare reform bills being considered by Congress includes a specific federal prohibition on the use of domestic violence as a pre-existing condition, while other versions include blanket bans on pre-existing conditions.

"We don't know how many insurance companies still have that policy," Lisa Codispoti, senior counsel for the National Women's Law Center, said, "but we are talking about an industry that once charged a race-based premium."

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