Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan Goes Nationwide

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson

For people who have been denied health insurance because they had a pre-existing condition, there may be good news. The Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan (PCIP), a provision of the Affordable Health Care Act, which President Obama signed in March 2010, is now open for business.  States that have not offered pre-existing condition coverage in the past are starting to take applications now.

If you or anyone you care about falls into this category, you’ll want at least to look at the website that can tell you what you need to know. Some states are running the program themselves, others are contracting with the U.S. Department of Health and Human services. A map on the PCIP front page will take you to your state’s information. Should you choose to, the site will help you apply.

Health care has long been easier to obtain in cities and the suburbs. PCIP takes a step toward leveling the playing field for rural residents.

The program will vary depending on the state, but some things are constant. To be eligible you must

  • have been uninsured for at least six months,
  • have have been refused health insurance because of a pre-existing health condition, and
  • be a U.S. citizen, or residing here legally.

PCIP will

  • cover a broad range of health benefits, including primary and specialty care, hospital care, and prescription drugs, without regard to your past or present health,
  • not charge you a higher premium just because of your medical condition
  • not base eligibility on income.

A list of frequently asked questions is here.

Premiums vary from state to state. States may have different means of deciding whether you have a pre-existing condition and whether you have been denied insurance. In some states, if you were offered insurance at an unreasonable rate, that may be considered having been denied insurance. So don’t decide whether or not you are eligible. Check it out.

And tell others to check it out, too. There’s a saying in the military, “There’s always somebody who doesn’t get the word.”

Be sure that everyone you know who might possibly need the word gets it. Encourage them to check it out, too.

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One Response to “Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan Goes Nationwide”

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