Religious discrimination in insurance
VOLOKH at mail.law.ucla.edu
Thu Jan 24 18:38:54 PST 2002
I'm just curious, not as a doctrinal matter (the question there is
whether insurance antidiscrimination laws have a "reasonable accommodation"
provision, and I doubt that they do) but as a policy matter: Is the
bloodless surgery more expensive than normal surgery?
I for one wouldn't be wild about having to pay, as a policyholder,
for the extra cost occasioned by someone else's religious beliefs, and I'd
be reluctant to see the law impose such a burden. Query whether such a law,
incidentally, would be constitutional unless it had some requirement that
the religious care be not materially more expensive (see Thornton v.
Caldor). I don't think such a requirement should be unconstitutional, but I
also don't think it would be right as a policy matter.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Richards, Edward P. [SMTP:RichardsE at UMKC.EDU]
> Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2002 6:15 PM
> To: RELIGIONLAW at listserv.ucla.edu
> Subject: Religious discrimination in insurance
> Just had a question from a lawyer about an interesting health law case. A
> Jehovah's Witness has commercial health insurance. He needs surgery, but
> the plan refuses to authorize care at a medical center that offers
> bloodless surgery. (There are well established but not widely available
> techniques to reduce the chance of needing blood in surgery, which is
> important if the patient has refused blood.) The plans says it is
> providing standard of care and does not need to accommodate the patient's
> religious beliefs. Since the plan's care is no care as far as the patient
> is concerned, he has to pay for the bloodless procedure himself.
> Does this raise any issues under the civil rights laws?
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