Pre-existing condition: What are my options?

If you’re living with a health condition, worrying about health care coverage can be overwhelming. From asthma to cancer, your condition can complicate your coverage options. But worrying about heath care coverage shouldn’t keep you up at night. I’ll walk you through what qualifies as a pre-existing condition, how to find affordable coverage and what you can expect from health care reform.

What is a “pre-existing condition”?

A pre-existing condition is any health condition that existed or was treated before you applied for coverage. Some conditions are more obvious than others and can include:

  • Heart disease
  • Certain allergies
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Epilepsy
  • Cancer
  • High blood pressure

Previously, people with pre-existing conditions were eligible to receive coverage under the federally-run Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP). However, in many states, including Michigan, enrollment has been suspended so the program is able to continue providing coverage to current enrollees through the remainder of 2013.

How will health reform help?

Under the Affordable Care Act, programs like PCIP will no longer be needed because all Americans will have access to health care coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions, and will be able to apply for quality, affordable health care coverage in the Health Insurance Marketplaces. Open enrollment begins on October 1, 2013, with coverage going into effect on January 1, 2014.

So, what can I do in the meantime?

If you are not currently enrolled in PCIP, there are other options that can provide you with coverage until the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented. A great starting point is to visit, http://finder.healthcare.gov/, which identifies the health care plans that make the most sense for you based on your individual circumstance.

You can also locate health care centers in your community that provide affordable health care regardless of whether or not you’re insured. You can search for health care centers near you by visiting, http://www.hrsa.gov/gethealthcare/index.html.

And remember, when the new law takes full effect in 2014, no one can be denied health insurance due to any previous condition.

Want to learn more about your options? Ask questions, see answers and learn about health insurance on Health Insurance Central.

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