The American Health Care Act Would Undermine Care for Domestic Violence Survivors

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Victims of domestic and sexual violence need comprehensive health insurance that they can afford. Access to health care, including behavioral and mental health services, is critical for survivors to heal and thrive, and to improving their health outcomes over their lifetimes.

The American Health Care Act would be a dramatic step backwards in health care for survivors. It fails to recognize the unique situations in which survivors seek health insurance and health care. It makes health insurance less affordable by reducing federal financial help and raising premiums. At the same time, it puts decisions about what services to cover in the hands of insurance companies, meaning far fewer services are likely to be covered. This bill would also eliminate and reduce coverage for millions of women on Medicaid.

Makes health insurance more expensive—and increases out-of-pocket expenses

The American Health Care Act eliminates financial help that makes it possible for millions of people to buy plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace. Survivors would pay more out of pocket for their premiums, and even more for a comprehensive benefit package. For non-covered services, survivors would have to pay out of pocket or simply go without.

Eliminates coverage for many low-income survivors

The American Health Care Act eliminates the Medicaid expansion, which has helped millions of low-income survivors access health care through Medicaid. Women who make less than $25,000/year are three times more likely to be victims of domestic violence than women making more than $75,000.  These provisions are essential to ensuring that all survivors have genuine access to health care and must be maintained.

Penalizes survivors for not having continuous coverage

The American Health Care Act requires continuous coverage, meaning that you would have to keep your health coverage all the time. The penalty for not having coverage is extreme—plans can charge 30% more in premiums. This would disproportionally harm survivors, who may experience gaps in their health care if an abuser cuts off care without informing the survivor or if crises or unpredictable situations undermine their ability to maintain coverage. These survivors would be charged 30% more because of the actions of an abuser.

Keeps survivors from needed medical and behavioral health services

The American Health Care Act would take away the important guarantees that ALL health plans cover important benefits, including behavioral health services. For Medicaid beneficiaries, the bill specifically eliminates the Essential Health Benefits package. Among the benefits lost would be the requirement that health plans pay for screening and brief counseling for DV/IPV—ensuring that health care providers can be reimbursed for this work. This service is currently required to be provided for free (with no copay or cost-sharing) to survivors.