Everything You See on the Internet Is Not True (Erectile Dysfunction Edition)


Now that I have your attention:


This is…grossly misleading, though partially true. CNN Money says that insurers “have the right to choose what counts as ‘pre-existing'”. They go to give a list from the Kaiser Foundation that has been floating around Facebook of “ailments and conditions [that] were universally used to deny people coverage”. You would be correct in noting that erectile dysfunction is not on that list, but its not because it wasn’t a preexisting condition.

A blog devoted to ED drugs* noted before the pre-existing conditions clause went into effect:

If current proposed health care reform stays in place, in 2014, this won’t matter. But until then, the answer is, it depends. Mostly it depends on what the insurance company considers a preexisting condition and what they will or will not cover. Also, most insurance companies use a certain formula or logarithm to determine eligibility. They may look at your medical history to see what conditions you have been diagnosed with, what you’ve been treated for, what medications you’ve taken, etc. Compounding this is the fact that erectile dysfunction is usually not a standalone issue, but a symptom of another underlying condition, physical or psychological, like diabetes or clinical depression, and that is more likely to be what the insurance company will be looking at as far as preexisting conditions go.

ED and its causes (many of which are on CNN’s list) were preexisting conditions, and ED treatments weren’t and still aren’t covered in many cases anyway. If you have diabetes and that causes ED, they can deny you coverage for your ED medication as a “preexisting condition” as long as their rules are clear, so ED shows up here as an implication. It’s possible to squint and add a bunch of caveats that make this meme “true”, but I think the implication, that ED is usually covered but complications from sexual assault aren’t if you buy insurance after the fact is false.

And there is no reason to cling to this! To find examples of institutional sexism in health care look no further than AHCA! Planned Parenthood defunding is just that. This murky example, largely anchored on a misunderstanding, looks washed out next to PP’s loss of funds.

So please, outraged citizens, direct your rage at the actual problem here: that both ED and treatment for complications from sexual assault will be denied as preexisting conditions if the House GOP has their way.

*I too wondered PDE5guy kept a blog about Viagra and Cialis for years, but, hey! If there is one thing 2017 is teaching us, it is that the world is weirder than we thought.


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