Christina Turner feared that she might have been sexually assaulted after two men slipped her a knockout drug. She thought she was taking proper precautions when her doctor prescribed a month’s worth of anti-AIDS medicine. Only later did she learn that she had made herself all but uninsurable. Turner had let the men buy her drinks at a bar in Fort Lauderdale. The next thing she knew, she said, she was lying on a roadside with cuts and bruises that indicated she had been raped. She never developed an HIV infection. But months later, when she lost her health insurance and sought new coverage, she ran into a problem. Turner, 45, who used to be a health insurance underwriter herself, said the insurance companies examined her health records. Even after she explained the assault, the insurers would not sell her a policy because the HIV medication raised too many health questions. They told her they might reconsider in three or more years if she could prove that she was still AIDS-free.
This article upsets me for several reasons:
(1) Despite all these real life experiences that these women shared with HPIF, Susan Pisano, spokeswoman for the health insurance industry’s largest trade group, America’s Health Insurance Plans, insists insurers do not discriminate against victims of sexual assault and formulates some form of excuse for each and every woman’s story that was mentioned in the article.
(2) My experiences as a volunteer rape crisis counselor in the ER has shown me how traumatized, lost, and scared most rape victims feel after having all control being stripped from them in a moment’s instance. Now in addition, to helping them deal with emotions they never thought they had, and bringing to light the possibility of being impregnated or getting an STI or HIV from this experience, I have to look at them in the eyes and choose whether or not to exclude the fact that they may lose their health insurance, as well?