The Affordable Care Act prohibited insurers from turning away consumers with preexisting medical conditions, a practice that was once standard in the industry.
Among the conditions that once commonly made insurers deny coverage, according to a list assembled by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation, were:
Alcohol abuse/drug abuse with recent treatment
Arthritis (rheumatoid), fibromyalgia, other inflammatory joint disease
Cancer within some period of time (e.g., 10 years)
Congestive heart failure
Coronary artery/heart disease, bypass surgery
Crohn’s disease/ulcerative colitis
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)/emphysema
Pending surgery or hospitalization
Pregnancy or expectant parent
Kidney disease, renal failure
The American Health Care Act, as the House Republican health care bill is called, does not explicitly eliminate ACA’s coverage guarantee.
But the bill would allow states to obtain a waiver from the federal government to eliminate another ACA mandate that prohibits insurers from charging people with preexisting medical conditions more for insurance.
That means that some people with preexisting medical conditions could see their premiums spike dramatically, if the House bill becomes law.
In other words, a patient with diabetes, heart disease or cancer might still be “guaranteed” coverage, but only if he or she agreed to pay five or 10 times as much for a health plan.