Senate Bill No. 234
Introduced By brooke, mahlum, halligan, bartlett, shea, doherty, squires, ellingson, franklin, sands
A Bill for an Act entitled: An Act prohibiting discrimination against victims of abuse in all lines of insurance.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:
Section 1. Unfair discrimination against victims of abuse prohibited. (1) An insurer, health maintenance organization, or health service corporation may not unfairly discriminate against a victim of abuse.
(2) For purposes of this section, "abuse" means the occurrence between family members, current or former household members, or intimate partners of one or more of the following:
(a) purposely, knowingly, or recklessly subjecting another person, including a minor child, to bodily injury, severe emotional distress, psychological trauma, sexual assault, or sexual intercourse without consent;
(b) subjecting another person, including a minor child, to false imprisonment or unlawful restraint or confinement.
(3) For purposes of this section, "abuse" includes purposely or knowingly engaging in a course of conduct toward a family member, current or former household member, or intimate partner that constitutes stalking in violation of 45-5-220.
(4) The following acts, when based on the insured's status as a victim of abuse, are prohibited as unfairly discriminatory:
(a) denying, refusing to issue, renew, or reissue, canceling, or otherwise terminating an insurance policy, certificate of coverage delivered or issued for delivery in Montana, subscriber contract, or health care services agreement;
(b) restricting or excluding coverage under an insurance policy or certificate delivered or issued for delivery in Montana;
(c) adding a premium differential to any insurance policy or certificate delivered or issued for delivery in Montana on the basis that the applicant or insured has been the victim of abuse; or
(d) excluding or limiting coverage for losses or denying a claim.
(5) Upon written request of the insured or an applicant, an insurer that takes an underwriting action that adversely affects a victim of abuse on the basis of a medical condition or property or casualty risk that the insurer knows is related to abuse shall explain to the insured or applicant in writing the reason for the insurer's action.
(6) (a) This section does not prohibit an insurer from underwriting, classifying risk, or administering a contract of insurance as otherwise allowed by law based on property or casualty risk or medical information that the insurer knows is related to abuse as long as the insurer underwrites, classifies risk, or administers the contract of insurance on the basis of the applicant's or insured's property or casualty risk or medical condition and not on the applicant's or insured's status as a victim of abuse.
(b) This section does not prohibit or otherwise limit an insurer's ability to elicit information from or about an applicant or insured as otherwise provided by law.
(7) This section may not be construed to alter or modify any conditions, exclusions, or limitations clearly stated in an insurance policy or certificate delivered or issued for delivery in Montana that are not otherwise inconsistent with the provisions of subsection (4).
(8) An insurer may not be held civilly or criminally liable for the death of or physical injury to an insured that is related to acts of abuse resulting from any action taken in a good faith effort to comply with the requirements of this section.
Section 2. Codification instruction. [Section 1] is intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 33, chapter 18, part 2, and the provisions of Title 33, chapter 18, part 2, apply to [section 1].
Section 3. Saving clause. [This act] does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, or proceedings that were begun before [the effective date of this act].
Section 4. Severability. If a part of [this act] is invalid, all valid parts that are severable from the invalid part remain in effect. If a part of [this act] is invalid in one or more of its applications, the part remains in effect in all valid applications that are severable from the invalid applications.