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Access to Care

Affordable Care Act Provides Special Enrollment for Domestic Violence Victims


Victims of domestic violence can qualify to sign up for health coverage outside of the regular open enrollment period. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services wants to remind people of this during Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.

Nicole Greene is the Deputy Director for HHS’ Office on Women's Health. She says one reason a person would stay in a violent home is to keep health insurance for themselves and their children.

"A survivor of domestic violence or spousal abandonment can enroll in the affordable care act at any time.  There doesn’t have to be open enrollment or any kind of designated enrollment period," says Greene.

This rule is consistent for both the national and the state health insurance marketplaces.

Greene says domestic violence has long-term effects on both physical and mental health.

"Women that are abused are often more likely to report frequent headaches and chronic pain.  They have difficulty sleeping, poor physical and mental health, they have some activity limitations," says Greene.

A third of American women have experienced intimate partner abuse in their lifetimes.

​The problem impacts people regardless of race, economic status, age, or sexual orientation.