Historically, it’s been difficult, if not impossible, for Americans with medical problems to acquire affordable health insurance. That changed yesterday with the rollout of another piece of this year’s Affordable Care Act, the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP). As of July 1, 2010, adult citizens or legal residents who have been without insurance for six months, and who have been denied insurance because of a pre-existing condition, are eligible to buy into a state-run plan. (Read the full eligibility requirements.) Or if their state opted not to have a plan for these circumstances, there’s a national plan than can take its place.
According to healthcare.gov, the plan:
- Will cover a broad range of health benefits, including primary and specialty care, hospital care, and prescription drugs. All covered benefits are available to you, even to treat a pre-existing condition.
- Won’t charge you a higher premium just because of your medical condition.
- Doesn’t base eligibility on income.
Exact benefits and premiums will vary by state (pick your state and learn more), and coverage won’t be effective until August 1st, but you can apply today.
These plans will go away in 2014, when it will become illegal for private insurance companies to discriminate against adults with pre-existing conditions.
In addition to the PCIP website dedicated to this plan, there is also a wealth of easy-to-understand and useful resources at the new healthcare.gov, including an informative timeline of how the law affects health care, and on which dates.
Updated February 21, 2012 and originally published July 2, 2010. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.