What to do about Health Care with a Pre-Existing Condition?

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					What to do about Health Care with a Pre-Existing Condition?

Choosing a health care plan can be stressful enough on its own, but many people in the United States
suffer from pre-existing health conditions, which can make the selection of a health care plan more
                                                   stressful and more expensive. Luckily, there are a
                                                   number of things you can do to make choosing a plan
                                                   easier. Follow these steps in order to find a health
                                                   care plan that will provide for your needs:

                                                     Understand what “Pre-Existing
                                                     Condition” means

                                                  The first step in finding a health insurance plan in this
                                                  situation is to find out if the term “pre-existing
condition” applies to you. Generally speaking, health insurance companies view a pre-existing condition
as any medical condition that you have contracted before applying for insurance. However, it pays to
know how each company defines your situation, so make sure you have a good understanding of what
your condition is, when you contracted it, and how it affects you.

Know the law

The great news for people with pre-existing medical conditions is that, starting in 2014, it will be illegal
for health care companies to turn you down or charge you more due to your condition. Additionally,
people who already have health insurance cannot be denied the needed treatment for pre-existing
conditions. Coverage for such conditions will begin automatically as long as you are already signed up
for a health care plan, even if you have been turned away or refused coverage in the past. The only
exception to this law is if you are on a grandfathered individual health plan; a health plan that you buy
yourself instead of through an employer. With these insurance plans, you are not legally ensured
coverage of your pre-existing conditions.

Know what constitutes a good plan

Purchasing a health care plan can often be a new and confusing endeavor. In order for you to get the
best value for your money, you need to know what a good
health care plan generally looks like and consists of. While
there are many factors that may sway your decision (such
as insurance policies that do not require a medical exam
before enrolling), you should be on the lookout for a
health care plan that includes:
     - Daily hospital benefits
     - Dental and vision
     - Maternity coverage
    -   Prescription drugs
    -   Surgical benefits
    -   Anesthesia benefits
    -   Preventative care
    -   ICU benefits
    -   Diagnostics, lab, and x-ray

Be aware of enrollment dates

People often forget that unless you have a qualifying life event (income raise, marriage, divorce, etc.),
there is a specific time period during which you can apply for health insurance. Make sure you do your
research in advance so that you know when your desired health care is available for enrollment.

As long as you make sure to do your research accurately and in advance, finding a health care plan that
covers your pre-existing condition for an affordable price should be achievable.

Photo Credit: William Cho, Kevin Kratka

				
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Description: Choosing a health care plan can be stressful enough on its own, but many people in the United States suffer from pre-existing health conditions, which can make the selection of a health care plan more stressful and more expensive.