Before the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, insurance companies had free rein to deny coverage or charge higher rates to anyone who had what they considered to be a “pre-existing condition.” These conditions include everything from asthma to high-blood pressure to cancer—some plans even consider pregnancy to be pre-existing. Today, however, insurers are banned from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, and beginning in 2014, that ban will prevent insurers from discriminating against anyone based on their medical history.
Until that piece of President Obama’s health reform law takes effect, the Affordable Care Act established a temporary Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, which give people are uninsured because of pre-existing conditions access to coverage. More than 50,000 people have obtained coverage through that plan, like James from Katy, Texas, who found himself with no health insurance after being diagnosed with brain cancer.
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