One problem which worries many people is that of getting low cost health insurance plans for pre-existing conditions. Indeed, many people believe that if they are suffering from a medical condition such as cancer, a stroke, heart disease or diabetes then they will simply be denied medical health insurance coverage. This is however rarely the case.
We have all heard stories of people being denied a policy or of their cover being so limited that the benefits guaranteed under their plan are simply not worth the price they are being asked to pay. Indeed, for some individuals it seems that you have to look through one exclusion after another to find that elusive benefit.
How to Get a Health Insurance for Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
First and foremost the secret to getting health insurance for pre-existing medical conditions lies in shopping around. There are a large number of insurance companies to choose from today and there is a wide difference in attitudes when it comes to a health insurance company deciding what they will and will not cover.
In some cases companies may be prepared to take the risk of covering you but will impose conditions. For example, they may cover your condition but require you to pay an additional premium. Alternatively, they may specify that the condition will be covered after a waiting period (perhaps 3 to 6 months) providing that the condition has not required treatment during this period. These are two of the many examples of companies providing cover as long as specific conditions are met.
Consider Group Health Insurance
Another approach is to consider a group health insurance plan. In many cases group policies, such as those typically provided to employees, will accept members of the group regardless of pre-existing medical conditions. Although it is often thought that group policies are only available through employment this is far from the case and there are many cases where you may be eligible to join a group health insurance plan. If you belong to a professional association or are a member of a motoring organization for example you may well find that you are eligible to join a group medical insurance scheme.
Finally, if all else fails, look to your state for cover. You’ll find that most states have a state insurance fund under which people can get cover and, while such plans are not normally as comprehensive as those available from private insurance companies, they will often provide you at the very least with catastrophic medical cover.
If you have a pre-existing condition then don’t let this stand in your way. Do your homework, gather together the necessary information, get yourself some quotes and you’ll be surprised how easy it is to get affordable health insurance to cover pre existing conditions if you put your mind to it.
Defining Pre-Existing Medical Condition
Just how do we define a ‘pre-existing medical condition’?
This is not an easy question to answer as different insurance companies will interpret this phrase in different ways. In addition, state law will often prescribe conditions which may and may not be included under this heading. There are of course several conditions such as heart disease and diabetes which can generally be taken to be classed as pre-existing but others are less clear. For example, how will an insurance company react if you had breast cancer five years ago which was successfully treated and is now clear?
As a very general rule it is often said that if you have to ask whether or not your condition is covered then it is probably classed as pre-existing, while any condition which you may be suffering from, but which you are unaware of, will probably be covered. At the end of the day however you will need to read the small print of any policy that you are considering and, if necessary, talk to the insurer before you commit yourself to any plan.
Update June 2011:
By 2014, insurance companies will no longer be allowed to reject people that have pre-existing conditions. This is a massive change in the way that the American insurance industry will operate. Over the next two years, the current administration has set forth initiatives to help those without insurance cover the existing gap. The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan first launched in 2010 and while the plan is slow to gain new participants, it may gain more exposure through insurance broker incentive programs. Those that have to wait for the new policy to go into effect can have the wait be less detrimental with this plan.
The plan is aimed at helping people with long-term maintenance diseases like asthma, heart conditions and diabetes. Currently, insurance companies can deny coverage or reduce coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. In many cases, insurers have revoked coverage for members that had a pre-existing condition but failed to reveal it when signing up.
The premiums for the PCIP are lower than some traditional health care insurance programs by national insurers. In many states, similar programs have had their premiums reduced; however this may not be the case for all states. Current figures report that there are well over 2 million individuals that in the US that are not covered by health insurance. A good portion of these figures correspond to individuals with pre-existing conditions. While many see the PCIP as a helpful benefit, many more see that the program also has its flaws. Waiting periods and costly premiums still prevent many from qualifying for the program. Unfortunately, as options go, PCIP is very nearly the only one for people with pre-existing conditions. PCIP is highly suitable as gap coverage for the next few years until the laws change and make it illegal for insurance providers to deny new members for pre-existing conditions. Read More about the latest health care reform regarding pre-existing health conditions.
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