No more higher rates based on health or gender
Beginning next year, health insurers can't charge you more or deny you coverage for a pre-existing medical condition or discriminate against women, all of which were common practices before health insurance reform.
The new rules represent a long-sought boon for the up to 1 in 5 nonelderly Americans -- an estimated 25 million people -- who have pre-existing conditions and are uninsured. However, grandfathered plans in the individual insurance market (as opposed to employer group plans) are still free to set higher rates based on pre-existing conditions.
Chollet says finding coverage on the individual market has been particularly frustrating for those with a health flag in their file.
"Some companies would 'carve out' (exclude) the condition to the point where it was ridiculous, such as, 'We will insure you for everything except your circulatory system,' or your brain, if you have chronic migraines," she says. "Plus, it was unpredictable."
Palanker calls the Obamacare protections for people with pre-existing conditions a financial lifesaver. "This should reduce the medical bankruptcies that these families faced," she says.