Putting an End to Pre-Existing Conditions

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By Consumers Union on Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Do you have pre-existing medical conditions that caused you to be denied for insurance coverage? Have you been uninsured for at least six months? If so then we have some potentially good news for you today.

On Thursday, July 1st, the Federal Government launched the new Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan in 20 states that chose not to set up their own programs. That means that if you live in Georgia, Minnesota, Arizona, and 17 other states you’re amongst the first consumers to get access to this new benefit created by the healthcare reform law. If you live in the rest of the 50 states you’ll soon also have access. Most of those states have indicated they will quickly follow the federal government’s lead in setting up these new insurance plans.

You’ve probably heard of “high-risk pools” that currently exist in some states and provide coverage to folks that have been denied by insurance companies. This program is a big improvement on established high risk pools as there is no waiting period to cover your pre-existing conditions and premium rates are set at the average amount a healthy person would pay. That doesn’t necessarily mean that consumers will be able to afford these new plans because subsidies for insurance coverage don’t kick in until 2014, but nonetheless this program acts as a stopgap for certain individuals that currently aren’t covered by employer provided insurance and are finding that the individual market won’t work for them.

“This program is intended to be a bridge for uninsured people, who have been cut out of the private insurance market because of some previous medical problem, until 2014 when pre-existing condition exclusions will no longer be allowed,” said DeAnn Friedholm, Director of our Healthcare Reform Campaign.

You can access this new benefit by visiting www.HealthCare.gov; the new website also launched on July 1st as a hub for consumers to identify coverage options in their area and access helpful information about medical care. Check out the website and put in your state to see when the new plans start in your area.

And don’t forget to share your story with us of how this new Pre-Existing Insurance Plan works for you.

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