I’m under 40. I don’t smoke. I rarely drink. I run 6 miles a day, teach dance several times a week and my diet is excellent. My health is generally very good, and much better than the average American’s.
I am also medically uninsurable because of a pre-existing condition, and based on a report from the House Energy and Commerce Committee studying the country’s 4 largest health insurers, I am far from alone. Health insurance denials by those insurers based on pre-existing conditions have risen a whopping 49% over the last three years. All told, Aetna, Humana, United Health Group and Wellpoint denied health insurance to 651,000 Americans over the last three years. And if you’ve found it harder to get insurance recently, it’s not your imagination. In 2009, 257,100 Americans could not get a health insurance plan compared with 172,400 in 2007, the committee said.
What were some of the specific pre-existing conditions that resulted in denials? A better question might be what conditions might not result in a denial?
One insurer listed 425 conditions that could be used to deny people health insurance coverage, including pregnancy, diabetes and heart disease. Expectant fathers and those trying to adopt children are also likely to be denied as well as women who have undergone infertility treatments.
Of course healthcare reform makes health insurance denials based on pre-existing conditions illegal, but those rules currently only apply to children. Starting in 2014, health insurers will be required to accept all applicants regardless of pre-existing conditions.
Until then, if you have been denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition and have been without health insurance for a at least six months, you may be eligible for the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Program (PCIP) in your state.
The PCIPs are designed to provide affordable health insurance benefits to Americans with pre-existing conditions and will continue until 2014, when health insurance must be offered to all Americans regardless of pre-existing conditions. The PCIPs are an attractive health isurance option because they are limited to charging standard individual health insurance rates in the region, cap out-of-pocket expenses for members, and will provide immediate coverage for members’ pre-existing conditions instead of requiring a waiting period.
Have you been denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition? Tell us about it!
- Healthcare Reform: Applying for the New Interim High-Risk Health Insurance Pool for Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions
- Enrollment Trickles Into the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans (PCIPs), Are the Health Insurance Premiums Too High?
- Healthcare Reform and Pre-Existing Conditions: What’s the Hold-Up With the Interim High-Risk Health Insurance Pools?
- Healthcare Reform: Just 1,200 Accepted For Interim High-Risk Health Insurance Pools (Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans) So Far
- Healthcare Reform: Pre-existing Conditions and the Federal Health Insurance Pool