Getting Insurance When You Have a Health Problem

For anyone living with a health condition, from asthma to diabetes to cancer, it’s a terrifying thought. What if I lose my health insurance? What would happen to my finances? My health? My family?

Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurance companies could charge people with pre-existing conditions whatever they wanted or deny them coverage altogether. One of the most popular features of the ACA is the ban on pre-existing condition exclusions. In addition, plans are no longer allowed to base your premiums on your medical history. This levels the playing field between those who are fortunate to be in good health and those who have not been as lucky.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Sarah Goodell on February 14, 2018

Sources

SOURCES:

Alwyn Cassil, director of public affairs, Center for Studying Health System Change, Washington, D.C.

Nicole Duritz, health care portfolio director, AARP, Washington, D.C.

Stephen C. Schoenbaum, MD, executive vice president for programs , director of the Commission on a High Performance Health System, the Commonwealth Fund, New York.

AARP: “When You’re Losing Your Group Health Insurance.”

American Cancer Society: “Health Insurance and Financial Assistance for the Cancer Patient.”

American Diabetes Association: “Groups of One,” “Individual Health Insurance Policies.”

The Commonwealth Fund: “Health Care Reform is Not a Spectator Sport.” 

The Commonwealth Fund: “Failure to Protect: Why the Individual Insurance Market Is Not a Viable Option for Most U.S. Families.”

Consumer Reports: “Six Tips for Buying Individual Insurance.”

Families USA: “HIPAA Definitions.”

HealthReform.gov: “Coverage Denied.”

Kaiser Family Foundation: “The Uninsured: A Primer.” 

Kaiser Family Foundation: “How Private Health Coverage Works.” 

Kaiser Family Foundation: “Medicaid: A Primer.”

Kaiser Family Foundation’s statehealthfacts.org: “Small Group Health Insurance Market Guaranteed Issue, 2009.”

PolitiFact: “Pregnancy a 'pre-existing condition'? Yes, for some.”

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: “The Challenge of Enrolling and Retaining Low-Income Children in SCHIP.”

Underwood, A. “A Health Insurance Exchange: The Fine Print,” New York Times, Aug. 20, 2009.

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