Domestic Violence and New Health Insurance

I have just moved to a new city and am making a fresh start on my life, after leaving an abusive relationship.  My boyfriend beat me.  As a result, I have severe pain that flares up on occasion.  I’ll be getting health insurance for the first time in years.  I’m afraid that my pain episodes will not be covered by my new plan.  What should I do?

Healing Steadily

Dear Healing Steadily,

Congratulations on your new life and new job.  The Affordable Care Act, also known as “health reform”, now prevents insurers from denying claims for illness related to domestic violence.  This is true no matter if the illness was present before the person had insurance.  The technical lingo is that domestic violence is no longer a “pre-existing condition.”  A pre-existing condition is an illness that the person had and was treated for in the six months before the plan started.  A person who has a pre-existing condition and who has been uninsured for 63 days or more (90 days, in some cases) will have to wait a year before the new insurer will pay for the illness.

So, even though you have been uninsured for years and you had these pain episodes before you become insured, the insurer will pay these bills.  The insurer may ask you for a statement or medical records to confirm the pain is related to the domestic violence.

Good luck in your new life!

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Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.