Jun 20, 2017

How state laws treat sexual assault, pre-existing conditions

An early wave of stories inaccurately suggested the House GOP health care bill would allow rape and sexual assault to be treated as pre-existing conditions. Those stories have been thoroughly debunked. Even with the House bill's state waivers, most states, we were told, have their own laws preventing sexual assault from being treated as a pre-existing condition.

Turns out that many of those laws are so vague that they probably wouldn't settle the issue.

Data: FiscalNote research; Map: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Why it matters: None of this would be an issue unless a state got a waiver to allow insurers to charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions. Those higher rates would only apply under certain conditions. And the Senate bill may not allow the pre-existing condition waivers anyway. But it's important to know what the state laws actually say in case the waivers end up in the final version.

What the laws say: This map is based on an analysis from FiscalNote, a provider of government relationship management software. Their analysts found:

  • In 29 states, vague laws only protect "victims of domestic violence," without any definition that includes sexual assault.
  • Another 15 states have implicit protections through definitions in other laws.
  • Four states and the District of Columbia specifically protect victims of sexual assault.
  • Two states have no laws.

How to use this research: The links will take you to the state laws, as compiled by FiscalNote. A few states don't make their laws available online. In some cases, the links don't take you directly to the relevant sections, so we've included the main section numbers to help you find them.

For the 15 states with implicit protections, FiscalNote cross-referenced other state laws to confirm that they define "domestic violence" as including sexual assault.

Alabama: 27-55-3

Alaska: 21.54.100

Arizona: 20-448

California: Ins. _ 10144.2

Colorado: 10-3-1104.8

Connecticut: 38a-816(18)

District of Columbia: 31-2231.11(c)

Delaware: 18 Del. C. 2302(5)

Florida: 626.9541

Georgia: 33-6-4

Hawaii: 431:10-217.5

Idaho: No provision

Illinois: 215 ILCS 5/155.22a

Indiana: 27-8-24.3-1 to 27-8-24.3-10

Iowa: 507B.4

Kansas: 40-2404

Kentucky: 304.17A-155

Louisiana: 22:1078

Maine: 24-A M.R.S.A. _ 2159-B

Maryland: 27-504

Massachusetts: M.G.L.A. 175 _ 108G

Michigan: 500.2246

Minnesota: 72A.20

Mississippi: 83-71-7

Missouri: 375.1312

Montana: 33-18-216

Nebraska: 44-7401

Nevada: N.R.S. 689A.413

New Hampshire: 417:4.8

New Jersey: 17:48A-7s

New Mexico: 59A-16B

New York: Sec. 2612

North Carolina: 58-68-35:A1

North Dakota: 26.1-39-24

Ohio: 3901.21:Y

Oklahoma: 36-4502 (B)

Oregon: 746.015

Pennsylvania: 1171.5

Rhode Island: 27-60-1 through 27-60-7

South Carolina: 38-71-860

South Dakota: 58-33-13.3

Tennessee: 56-8-303

Texas: Sec. D: 544.151-158

Utah: 31A-21-5

Vermont: No law

Virginia: 38.2-508

Washington: 48.18.550

West Virginia: 33-4-20

Wisconsin: 631.95

Wyoming: 26-19-107

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