Is Diabetes A Pre-Existing Condition?
A pre-existing condition is a serious health condition with which you were diagnosed prior to purchasing a health insurance policy. One of the most common pre-existing conditions that affect health care coverage is diabetes. Diabetes Type I and II are both considered pre-existing conditions by almost every health insurance company. People who have diabetes may find that they are required to pay huge premiums or even denied coverage if an employee must change jobs or is laid off from work.
Can My Employer’s Health Plan Drop Me Because Of A Pre-Existing Condition?
Beginning in 2010, it became illegal for companies to drop anyone they were already carrying as insured parties due to the discovery of a serious illness. That same year, it also because illegal for employer-sponsored health plans to deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. These two revisions in the law were the beginning of a reform for those who suffered from these conditions. By 2014, the new Affordable Care Act will extend the protection currently offered only to children to adults as well.
As it stands now, you cannot be punished or dropped from a policy you currently have due to the discovery of diabetes by your doctor. This is considered part of the risk that insurance companies take when they insure large pools of applicants without health screening, so the insurance company must maintain the same premium prices aside from normal, across-the-board increases. Under HIPPA, the law that governs medical insurance, this is true even if you change plans or providers within your own employer network. However, if you change jobs, at present you can be charged more or denied coverage for your diabetes.
Losing Your Job and Finding Affordable Health Insurance
While the picture is rather bleak for those with diabetes who are laid off or fired from their jobs or who are uninsured at the time of the diabetes diagnosis, the new laws give hope that within a short time these people will be able to receive reasonably-priced health insurance coverage. In the meantime, however, patients with diabetes must find ways to pay for the higher premiums demanded by companies who have pre-existing clauses in their contracts.
There are several ways to pay for your medical costs if you are facing a pre-existing condition dilemma.
- Shop for Health Insurance – If you have just been diagnosed with diabetes, and you are making lifestyle changes to combat your condition, some insurance companies will offer you relatively reasonable rates. The Internet is a great place to get health insurance quotes and compare companies’ premium prices.
- Take advantage of Assistance Programs – If you have a very low income, you may qualify for Medicaid coverage; if you are older, Medicare may also be able to help you. Neither of these programs have restrictions on pre-existing conditions. Both programs are implemented through your state’s Department of Health; your particular state may also offer low-cost health insurance options for those who qualify due to low income. Your local diabetes support group can probably give you the names of several charitable organizations that will help you find affordable health care coverage or may be able to supplement your premium payments.
- Educate Yourself About Your Options – Things are changing in healthcare and it is sometimes hard to keep up. Becoming aware of the changes that are currently being made to healthcare law is vital, however, if you are to get the best possible price for your health insurance and to find opportunities for lower-cost coverage. The American Diabetes Association offers many tips on how to find low-cost health insurance coverage and even has a state-by-state breakdown of laws that may affect you as a diabetes sufferer. Be sure to take some time to examine all of the information available so that you do not miss opportunities to lower your healthcare costs.
- Open a Healthcare Savings Account (HSA) – One way to cut down on the amount you need from your health insurance coverage is to open a healthcare savings account or HSA through your employer. In fact, some insurance companies will lower your premiums simply because you agree to pay for much of your own care through an HSA. An HSA allows you to put a certain amount per month aside for healthcare costs in a special account that you can use to purchase supplies and medications.
By researching your options and using your health insurance dollars wisely, it is possible to survive the “pre-existing condition” blues when paying for health insurance.