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Update on Pre-existing Conditions under Obamacare

health plansNot long ago, in the days before Obamacare, health insurance companies were able to control costs by using a "pre-existing condition" clause.  This clause allowed them to exclude the coverage of certain medical conditions that existed before the member purchased their health insurance plan.

A pre-existing condition is classified as a medical issue that you have been treated for in the past, before obtaining new health insurance.

While this exclusion only affected individual (non-group) health plans, it made health insurance unavailable to many of the people who needed it most.

Before the Affordable Care Act, Americans with pre-existing conditions who did not receive health coverage through their employers had few affordable options to get the care they needed.  In most states, insurance companies could refuse to sell them coverage, charge higher premiums, or offer them coverage that excluded benefits for their health conditions. In early 2010, when President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) was created, making health insurance available to people who had previously been denied coverage through private insurance companies.    

Obamacare has effectively eliminated the stigma of having a pre-existing condition. 

Now you cannot be denied coverage, charged more, ore denied treatment based on your current or former health status.  When one considers the fact that 1 in 2 Americans have a health condition that would qualify as a “pre-existing condition,” this recent change is a very big deal.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 75 percent of all healthcare expenditures go toward treating chronic illnesses, many of which are preventable.  Chronic diseases are also the cause of 7 out of 10 deaths each year in the United States.

In January 2014, the final phase of the Affordable Care Act was implemented, which has completely solved the problem of the “pre-existing condition clause” for individuals purchasing health insurance across the country.  The cost of individual and group health plans has increased since the law was enacted, however...

 ...it is now possible for anyone, regardless of prior health conditions, to get affordable health insurance. 

However, in our more consumer-driven healthcare market it’s still important to carefully evaluate the benefits of any health plan beyond the monthly premium cost. This includes estimating the total cost of copays, coinsurance, deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses.

A knowledgeable health insurance agent can provide you with quotes from multiple companies and help you do a comparison between each of them so you can find the best policy for the price.  Now that it’s easier to get health insurance with a pre-existing condition, be sure you are getting the right plan to meet your family’s needs. 

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