Your State Might Make You Pay for Your Rape Kit
A recent study reveals that hospitals around the country interpret a rule set down by the Violence Against Women Act - that rape victims should not have to pay to be examined at the hospital after being sexually assaulted - very differently.
As Kaiser Health News reports, the Urban Institute study indicates that billing for post-rape examinations differs state-by-state, resulting in a hodgepodge of experiences for individuals that’s entirely dependent on where they live. Under the VAWA Act, no matter what state a victim lives in, he or she is entitled to a free forensic medical examination, whether or not they intend to file a police report. These exams/rape kits are typically paid for through victim compensation funds, which collect money via fines from convicted rapists and other government sources. In states that don’t fully cover an exam, the rest of the cost of the exam can typically be covered by insurance, though many victims don’t want to file an insurance claim for privacy reasons (and not everyone has insurance).
Though these exams are often free, they are not always wholly complete. Where an exam takes place dictates what kind of pregnancy testing and STI screening a patient will receive: