One of the main points of agreement in the health care reform debate (and yes, there was actually much agreement on about 80% of the bill), was the elimination of pre-existing condition denials by insurers. Its common sense: health insurance isn’t really insurance if it won’t cover the very health problem for which you need coverage.
Hundreds of thousands of Nebraskans stand to benefit from this provision. One in four Nebraskans, or nearly 351,000 under the age of 65, have a pre-existing condition that may be subject to a denial by an insurance company. These Nebraskans have likely faced difficulty finding insurance or have not been able to get coverage for the very health conditions they need to manage. These estimates come from Families USA, a leading health advocacy group, which released a study in May estimating the number of Nebraskans that are affected by pre-existing conditions and will therefore see relief under this provision of the health care reform law.
That estimate may even be higher. The report’s numbers only include those diagnosed with pre-existing conditions. But this provision could benefit even more Nebraskans. Often insurers use a minor and often essentially unrelated episode in a person’s health history as the basis for a pre-existing condition denial later. Also, many uninsured Nebraskans have not been receiving the care they need due to lack of insurance. This provision will allow them to get the care they need without fear that any diagnosis will lead to a pre-existing condition and affect their ability to gain private coverage.
The prohibition on pre-existing condition denials is a critical and welcome change and only one of the many benefits Nebraskans can expect to see from the health reform law. Read the full Families USA Nebraska specific report.