Monday, November 23, 2009

Woman = Pre-Existing Condition

By Tabi Cooper, WRC volunteer

Health insurance companies are notorious for denying coverage due to “pre-existing” conditions, which can include diagnoses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disease and attention-deficit disorder. According to A Woman is Not a Pre-Existing Condition, it seems that we can also add women to this list. Females pay higher premiums and can be denied coverage based upon sex, because some health insurance companies view the female sex as a “pre-existing” condition.

Women who buy health coverage directly from insurance companies face unfair and discriminatory practices. This includes using gender to set health insurance rates, causing women to pay more than men for the same coverage. Further, it is legal for women to be denied coverage for being a domestic violence survivor in eight states and D.C. Many health insurance companies may even refuse to pay for future Caesarean sections or totally deny coverage because a woman has had a Caesarean section.

For many women, a high percentage of doctor’s visits revolve around reproductive health, whether for an annual gynecological exam, getting birth control, or even prenatal care. Strangely, many insurance companies do not view pregnancy as a medical condition; yet, they will often pay for Viagra, because erectile dysfunction is considered a medical condition.

In short, this is the message that insurance companies need to know: Being a woman is not a pre-existing condition. For more information, check out this article on

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