rm (rm) wrote,
rm
rm

rape as a pre-existing condition

Do I need to say this is about to be triggery as hell?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/21/insurance-companies-rape-_n_328708.html

Scenario 1: Woman is raped. Almost two decades go by. She is raped again. When she tries to get coverage for health services related to the rape, her claims are denied because her first rape made her second rape a pre-existing condition.

Scenario 2: Woman is raped. Woman takes HIV drugs as a precautionary measure. Woman is now uninsurable in most cases. If she is able to get or maintain insurance she most likely would not be covered should she contract AIDS or any STD in the future.

Just so we're clear, these scenarios (which have really happened to non-hypothetical, non-fictitious women) are more than barbaric. They both brand women as responsible for their rapes and therefore not entitled to care related to their sexual and emotional selves -- that's only for insurance-defined "good girls" apparently.

Pissed off yet? Well, wait, because there's more, because a host of other scenarios like this are out there (check out the comments to this post, which include "domestic violence as a pre-existing condition" and a woman who was inseminated so she could have kids with her female partner being denied health insurance on the grounds of the infertility she didn't have), and if they haven't happened yet, they probably will soon.

Here's the deal about health insurance and being female: Being female is effectively considered a disease by insurers, despite the fact that women have much longer life expectancies than men. Women are also dealt with as children who are incapable of making informed decisions about their own bodies; whether it's birth control, abortion or pregnancy-related services, insurers will tell you over and over again that they know better than you or your doctor.

Choosing to have an abortion? May not be covered if it's not "medically necessary" and what's "medically necessary" isn't decided by you or your doctor, but by your insurance company. If mental health is a factor, forget about it (I've seen this one in action repeatedly). My abortion was part of the RU486 trial, and I still had to pay $400 for it (about ten years ago); it was not covered by insurance.

Want birth control? It'll probably cost you more than Viagra or similar medications on many insurance plans. A man has a right to fuck, but a woman doesn't have the same right to not get pregnant, apparently. (Once again, see comments -- this may or may not now actually be less fucked than I remember it being; it's been a long time since I was on oral birth control and I know regulations on insurance companies regarding this has changed since that time -- people's experiences with this seem to vary, but there's still definitely a problem on at least some plans or in some regions).

Have you decided to be child-free? Well, that's nice, but chances are there's no way for you to decline coverage for pregnancy related services (even if you've had your tubes tied), because as a woman, you apparently don't really know what you want and are likely to change your mind (and hey, you might get raped!). And if you want a medical procedure to ensure your child-free status? As one commenter notes, good luck. Odds are your insurance plan will cover a vasectomy, but as a woman? Sorry, no procedures for you! Why? Well, you could change your mind.

Having a baby? Well, if you've had a c-section before, your insurance company is going to tell you, you have to have one again, even if you and your doctor are comfortable with you trying for a VBAC. That is if they don't, as noted in the comments, just quit insuring you altogether.

Need a mammogram before age 40 because of a family history of breast cancer? Well, most insurers will make you wait even if breast cancer killed one of your relatives at age 39. Maybe, if you're really lucky, you'll figure out how to get seen at a free-screening clinic in a low-income neighborhood -- if it exists, if you're eligible, and if doing that won't cause anything breast health related to be termed a pre-existing condition and be not covered by your insurance forever more. That's right, if you have a family history of breast cancer, you may not be able to afford to have the screenings that could save your life -- even if you are insured!

The bias in all this is exhausting, but so is the lip-service paid to women's equality by executives and politicians who think this is all just fine. Fuck you. Come out and say it. We're children and chattel to you. And if we're very good and beg hard enough and don't get raped, maybe, just maybe you'll insure us and then we can be worth some cash too.
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