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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Health Care Reform Must Stop Insurance Companies from Denying Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions

September 18, 2009 - Posted by Tyler Lewis

The health insurance industry's widespread use of "pre-existing conditions" is unfair and discriminatory.  These conditions are often illnesses, injuries, or diseases that will not be covered under certain health insurance plans, or in some cases, can prevent a person from getting health insurance at all.

Recently, the National Women's Law Center issued a report on just how broadly health insurance companies define "pre-existing condition" (PDF) to avoid paying for people's treatment and how those practices discriminate against women.  Currently, in eight states and the District of Columbia being a victim of domestic abuse qualifies as having a pre-existing condition, allowing insurers to deny coverage to women who have been abused in the past. 

Both versions of the health reform bills currently being considered in Congress would ban insurance companies from using pre-existing conditions to deny coverage, guaranteeing that this egregious practice would be stopped.

"It is unconscionable that health insurance companies would deny coverage to a woman who has been the victim of domestic violence.  This extraordinary and discriminatory practice is just one more example of how badly broken the system is and why Congress must pass health care reform legislation this fall," said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of LCCR.

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