Survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault need a range of physical and mental health services, including preventive care, in order to heal and thrive. We encourage Congress to maintain access for all to high-quality, comprehensive health insurance that is guaranteed and affordable.
Access to necessary medical and behavioral health services: Victims of violence and those who are experiencing the symptoms of trauma frequently need medical and mental health services as they recover. Survivors need access to essential health benefits that are guaranteed for all insured, including behavioral health services, with no pre-existing condition exclusions or limitations on coverage.
Pre-existing conditions: If insurance is too expensive for a survivor or other individual or insurance is able to charge additional for pre-existing conditions, it will have the same effect as if the survivor were denied coverage outright. Survivors often have pre-existing conditions related to the abuse, even if domestic violence is not explicitly mentioned in their health history, including post-traumatic stress, injuries, emergency room visits, and other chronic diseases.
Continuous coverage: Continuous coverage is not always possible for survivors. Survivors are at an especially high risk for having gaps in coverage for many reasons, including circumstances entirely out of their control. For example, an abuser may terminate a survivor’s coverage without telling the survivor or refuse to allow the survivor to continue health coverage in an attempt to prevent the survivor from going to doctors and thereby exposing injuries from the abuse.
Affordable coverage, including Medicaid: Many survivors may need to access healthcare on a sliding scale, and need options to access affordable healthcare without the income of their spouse. For low-income survivors, there may be no other sources of health insurance other than Medicaid. Dramatically cutting Medicaid will mean not only the loss of coverage and access to needed services for survivors, but possibly the loss of their lives due to undiagnosed or untreated medical issues.
Preserve access to Medicaid; protections for those with pre-existing conditions; and continued, meaningful access to affordable care.