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What the New Health Care Insurance Reform Bill Means For People With Pre-Existing Conditions

Updated on July 29, 2012

I have a pre-existing condition - what does the health care reform bill do for me?

I think one of the biggest questions of the day is how will the health care reform bill affect those people with pre-existing conditions?This has always been a sore spot for me because I am one of those people that has been unfairly denied insurance coverage in the past because of a congenital heart valve condition that I was born with. Being a small business owner for many years, I was always terrified of losing my insurance coverage - knowing that if I lost my coverage I would have a hard time finding other coverage and possibly be without coverage at all.

Addressing pre-existing conditions is just one of the many parts of the health care reform bill - but a very important part - and that is what I will focus on in this first series of hubs about the new health care bill aka The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In an effort to unravel all the bits and pieces of the bill, let's take a look at summaries of the government documents on how people with pre-existing conditions will fare.


What the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says

What the Health Care Bill Means For People With Pre-Existing Conditions:

According to the new health car bill, a short summary on pre-existing conditions gives us this:

In 2010, the bill will provide immediate assistance for patients who are uninsured because of pre-existing conditions. It will also prohibit pre-existing condition exclusion for children. In 2014, the bill will ban pre-existing condition exclusion for all patients in the U.S.

“Insurers will be prohibited from denying coverage or setting rates based on gender, health status, medical condition, claims experience, genetic information, evidence of domestic violence, or other health-related factors,” according to the summary. “Premiums will vary only by family structure, geography, actuarial value, tobacco use, participation in a health promotion program, and age (by not more than three to one).

”The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will ensure that ALL Americans have access to quality, affordable health care and will create the transformation within the health care system necessary to contain costs".

You can't deny me coverage anymore!!

What this means for people like me is that I can now get insurance coverage REGARDLESS of my pre-existing condition. Not only that but I can no longer be discriminated against in the future because of this pre-existing condition. This, in my book, is a huge step towards equality in our nation. I am only one of many who have been denied coverage in the past because of a pre-existing condition - even though I have paid dearly for not only my health coverage but also for those of my children when I owned a small business. I currently have partial insurance, and plan to seek out a better plan now, knowing that I can longer be denied because of my pre-existing condition. Because I also fall into a lower income level at this time, working only part-time, I should be able to immediately get coverage without worrying about getting turned down.

And one of the beautiful things about this bill is that children, our precious children, will now also have the same rights TO HEALTH COVERAGE, regardless of their pre-existing conditions.This is also another huge leap in our society, where up to now parents of handicapped and disabled children have been unfairly denied health insurance for their children that have been born ill or gotten sick. How many times have we seen children unfairly denied medical coverage? Desperate parents seeking to get the medical attention their children needed but could not get? Holding onto jobs for dear life fearing that their children would suffer if they got laid off or fired? My own father, God bless him, stayed in the Navy just so he could provide medical coverage for my sister, who died at the age of 13 because of a congenital heart defect. My father knew how difficult it would be to help my sister without good medical coverage. He made huge life sacrifices for his family to make sure they had good medical coverage (and this was 50 years ago) How many other parents have sat on pins and needles fearing the loss of their medical coverage?

How long do we have to wait to get help?

No Pre-existing Coverage Exclusions for Children:

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act eliminates pre-existing condition exclusions for all Americans beginning in 2014, when the Exchanges are operational. Recognizing the special vulnerability of children, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act prohibits health insurers from excluding coverage of pre-existing conditions for children, effective six months after enactment and applying to all new plans .

Access to Affordable Coverage for the Uninsured with Pre-existing Conditions:

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will provide $5 billion in immediate federal support for a new program to provide affordable coverage to uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions. This provision is effective 90 days after enactment, and coverage under this program will continue until new Exchanges are operational in 2014.

What the new Health Care Reform Bill means for people with Pre-Existing Conditions is that we no longer have to worry about whether an insurance company will deem us or our children as "acceptable" risks. This has been a long time coming, and despite the bickering back and forth, a necessary step to make sure that ALL Americans have access to health care, not just those deemed as "worthy" of insuring. I applaud the new health care reform bill, and in future hubs will break down other points of the bill, how it affects small business, the elderly and families.

(Dorsi Diaz is a freelance writer/publisher on the Internet who writes from experience and loves to help people)

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