Before the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010 health coverage was frequently difficult or impossible to acquire for patients with pre-existing medical conditions. With the potential repeal on the horizon, what could happen to patients who have suffered from COVID-19? Would COVID-19 become a pre-existing condition?
Pre-ACA Health Coverage And Potential Repeal
Pre-Affordable Care Act, a person with a pre-existing condition seeking coverage would often run into carriers increasing premiums by a large margin, excluding the medical costs associated with their condition, or denying coverage entirely and the conditions did not have to be serious for things like this to happen. This November, the supreme court will hear the California v Texas case to determine whether the Affordable Care Act stays in place. If it does the regulation stopping carriers from denying pre-existing conditions would go as well. This would once again allow carriers to discriminate their coverage options for individuals with pre-existing conditions of any severity.
COVID-19 As A Pre-existing Condition
Since the disease is still very new, there is a question of whether COVID-19 could cause long term health effects. In a recent study, 35% of individuals with mild cases of COVID had not returned to their normal health states 3 weeks after testing. In addition, one in five young people had not returned to normal in the same amount of time. Some patients had lingering health effects even after recovering such as fatigue, cough, headaches, and loss of taste and smell. In severe cases, patients have developed long term lung, heart, and immune system damage. If the pre-existing condition protection through the ACA were removed, these individuals with long-term health effects from COVID-19 would undoubtedly be denied coverage or have dramatically increased premiums due to their condition. Carriers could also use current cases of COVID-19 or cases contracted shortly after beginning coverage as a reason to deny coverage or raise premiums as well. If someone who works a position that puts them in contact with the public is being regularly tested for COVID-19, then they could be marked as high risk and denied coverage as well.
We hope this information about COVID-19 becoming a pre-existing condition was useful or interesting to you!
Empower Brokerage is dedicated to helping you educate your clients on the insurance they need to get the most out of life. Whether it’s through webinar training, one-on-one calls, seminars, or marketing plans. We want you to be successful. Give us a call if you have any questions 888-539-1633.