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Being truly a victim of rape costs typically $3,500 in medical bills, study finds

Our dumb healthcare system

The bills can discourage rape reporting and compound victims’ trauma.

Oral swaps and a Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit (rape kit).

Enlarge / Oral swaps and a Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit (rape kit).

Seeking emergency health care in america following a sexual assault can incur hefty hospital bills that could deter assault reporting and compound victims’ trauma, in accordance with a fresh study published in the brand new England Journal of Medicine.

Normally, hospital emergency departments charged $3,551 for urgent health care coded as due to sexual violence. Individuals who were sexually assaulted while pregnant faced even steeper bills, having an average of $4,553. Uninsured victims or those that thought we would pay themselves were served bills that averaged $3,673. Even people that have private insurance faced burdensome bills; the analysis discovered that insured victims paid typically 14 percent of these bills out-of-pocket, which for the common bill works out to nearly $500.

“Emergency department charges may discourage the reporting of rape and seeking of health care for both short-term and long-term sequelae of sexual assault,” the authors caution. “Incurring such charges may further harm survivorseven people that have full insurance coverageby serving to reveal a potentially stigmatizing event to parents, partners, or employers. Moreover, such bills may further traumatize survivors by suggesting they are personally in charge of their assault.”

The analysis was conducted by researchers from in the united states, including at the University of California, LA; Harvard University; City University of NY at Hunter College; and led by way of a physician at Planned Parenthood in Billings, Montana.

Steep price

The team sifted through nationally representative data on 35,807,950 hospital-based visits to emergency departments from the 2019 Nationwide Emergency Department Sample database. They pulled out home elevators visits that had a minumum of one diagnostic code for sexual violence.

In every, they gathered records of 112,844 emergency department visits associated with sexual assault. On the list of victims, 88 percent were women. Most (53 percent) were between your ages of 18 and 44 years, but 38 percent were between 0 and 17.

Treatments provided in these emergency care visits range from evidence collection (“rape kits”) but additionally treatment for physical injuries, such as for example broken bones or vaginal laceration repairs. There is also diagnostic testing, treatment to avoid sexually-transmitted diseases and HIV infection, emergency contraception, and counseling.

Medicaid was the expected payer for 36 percent of the victims, and 36 percent reported income of significantly less than $38,000. On the list of 112,844 records, around 17,842 victims were likely to pay their hospital bills themselves.

The authors remember that the 1994 The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) mandates that women shouldn’t be charged for evidence collection throughout their post-assault health care, though that’s not always heeded. But, they push further, saying that the VAWA also needs to cover treatment. “More extensive reforms, including universal healthcare coverage, are essential to make sure that costs aren’t a barrier to essential health care and forensic evaluation in cases of sexual assault,” the authors argue.

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