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Feminist News


January-31-97

Five State Legislators Aim to End Insurance Discrimination Against Domestic Abuse Victims

Insurance companies use medical reports, medical databases, public court documents and credit reports to identify victims of domestic abuse. The insurance companies then limit or deny coverage to these victims because of their increased risk. The non-partisan Center for Policy Alternative has coordinated the introduction of bills in California, Illinois, Georgia, New Mexico and Washington to stop this discrimination. The president of CPA, Linda Tarr-Whelan, noted that anywhere from 2 to 4 million women are abused each year commenting that the legislation was "an innovative approach by women legislators across the country to raise visibility and take action to correct an unacceptable practice." The legislation would prohibit insurers from: denying a claim based on domestic violence; requesting information about domestic violence; denying coverage or renewal of coverage; restricting coverage or charging higher premiums; and terminating coverage granted through the abuser's insurance plan. The legislation would also impose civil penalties and fines for insurance companies violating the law.

Media Resources: UPI - January 31, 1997