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2 BILLS AIM TO PROTECT DOMESTIC-ABUSE VICTIMS

SHARE 2 BILLS AIM TO PROTECT DOMESTIC-ABUSE VICTIMS

Two bills in the Utah House would bar insurance companies from discriminating against victims of domestic violence and clarify a requirement that emergency-room doctors report battering cases to police.

HB331, sponsored by Rep. Sheryl Allen, R-Bountiful, would make it illegal for insurance companies to limit or cancel the insurance of victims of domestic violence.HB78, sponsored by Rep. Mont Evans, R-Riverton, would require emergency-room physicians to report a battered patient's injuries to the police department in the jurisdiction where the battering occurred.

Backers of the proposed legislation hope more women will report their injuries and get help if they know they won't suffer repercussions from their insurance companies.

Allen's bill comes after a woman in Pennsylvania lost health and life-insurance coverage when she was identified as the victim of domestic violence.

The Utah bill is the idea of one of the three insurance companies that denied coverage to the Pennsylvania woman, State Farm Insurance.

The second bill clarifies two issues doctors face when treating a domestic-violence victim: to whom and how to report the crime.

Doctors must call police or sheriff's deputies in the jurisdiction where the assault occurred, but only through a phone call, instead of a written report.