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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage

Kate Blocher

Staff Writer

It is likely sometime in your life that you, or someone you know, have been denied insurance coverage due to a pre-existing condition. According to a report recently released by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services:

"12.6 million non-elderly adults - 36 percent of those who tried to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company in the individual insurance market - were in fact discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition in the previous three years."

To make matters worse, even if an individual is able to gain coverage, insurance companies are still able to water down your coverage due to your determined pre-existing condition. For example:

"[S]omeone with a pre-existing condition of hay fever could have any respiratory system disease - such as bronchitis or pneumonia - excluded from coverage."

For the millions of Americans who have had to suffer under this discriminatory system, the passage of health reform is a true blessing. Insurance companies will no longer be able to turn down Americans for coverage based on their pre-existing condition, health status, gender or age.

Within the first 6 months of enactment, insurance companies will no longer be able to discriminate against children with pre-existing conditions; and by 2014 they will be prohibited from refusing coverage to anyone based on their medical history or health status. Until then, the federal government will provide insurance for those with pre-existing conditions through a national high-risk pool, or they will provide federal dollars to already established state high-risk pools to allow them to take in more participants.

There are many aspects of our health care system that make you want to scream, but the fact that insurance companies have been able to deny people access to care, simply because they happened to get sick in their past is one that has outraged many Americans for years. Thankfully, the new health reform law will make this injustice a thing of the past.