by Julia Kaye, Health Policy Associate,
National Women's Law Center
Good news out of Oklahoma! Last week, Governor Henry signed SB 1251 into law, to prohibit discrimination against DV survivors in health insurance. The bill, which was introduced by state Senator Jim Wilson, prohibits any insurance plan issued or renewed on or after November 1, 2010, from denying, cancelling, or refusing to issue or renew coverage based on an applicant’s status as a DV survivor, denying a claim based on an applicant’s status as a DV survivor, or treating domestic abuse as a pre-existing condition. It passed both chambers of the state legislature unanimously.
This important—and long overdue—accomplishment makes Oklahoma the third state (along with Arkansas and North Carolina) to have passed a law or issued formal regulations to prohibit health insurance discrimination against DV survivors since October 2008, when the National Women’s Law Center publicized data—first reported by the Women’s Law Project and Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence—which showed that in nine states and D.C. (Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming), it was still legal for insurance companies to deny coverage to survivors of domestic violence.