North Dakota: Domestic Violence Not a Reason to Deny Coverage

September 25, 2009

Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm says he’ll seek changes in North Dakota’s insurance laws to stop companies from using domestic violence as a reason to deny health insurance coverage.

Hamm says he was recently told of a report by the National Women’s Law Center. It says North Dakota is one of nine states that allow insurance companies to turn down health coverage for women who have been beaten because they have a pre-existing condition.

Hamm says the Insurance Department hasn’t had complaints about the practice. But he says the law should be changed to make sure it doesn’t happen.

In 1995, North Dakota House Republicans turned down a bill to prevent insurers from denying coverage because a customer was a domestic violence victim. Rutland Rep. Pam Gulleson sponsored the bill then, and she says she was surprised at the reaction.

Fargo Rep. Rick Berg was chairman of the committee that heard the bill then. He says its supporters didn’t have any examples of battered women being denied coverage.

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