Recently, this blog covered the basics of the Washington Crime Victims Compensation Program. That post was an overview, and this post will focus on how the WCVCP specifically helps sexual assault victims.
Washington Crime Victims Compensation Program overview
Those in our state that have been the victim of a crime have the WCVCP. It provides a benefit of up to $190,000, if one does not have insurance. Essentially, non-medical benefits max out at $40,000, and medical benefits max out at $150,000.
The sexual assault forensic exam
Our state tries to shield sexual assault victims from additional violations at the hands of medical and state actors. This begins with the sexual assault forensic exam as the WCVCP covers the costs of these exams, which are performed after a sexual assault occurs. Emergency medical providers, like hospitals, must bill the WCVCP directly, and the program is reimbursed by the WCVCP.
These examinations collect evidence for possible prosecution, and sexual assault victims never see the bills. This is true even if the victim has a primary insurance plan.
What if the victim has exceeded their maximum medical benefit?
However, this changes if the victim has exceeded their $150,000 maximum medical benefit. If this occurs, then the provider has the duty to determine if the victim qualifies for any public benefits or has private insurance. Though, if neither is the case, the victim is never responsible for the costs of these exams, period.
Of course, the WCVCP is not a sexual assault victim’s only recourse. They can also file a lawsuit directly against the perpetrator or perpetrators, but victims should discuss their compensation options with their attorney.