Waiting Periods – Pre-Existing Conditions

Waiting Periods – Pre-Existing Conditions

If you have a serious medical condition such as cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or asthma, you might be accustomed to restrictions on your health insurance coverage. Many insurance companies impose pre-existing condition exclusion periods in which people with prior medical conditions must pay premiums but do not receive any coverage related to their condition. Worst of all, many common ailments such as hay fever, acne, injuries, allergies, and even pregnancy can be considered pre-existing medical conditions. Fortunately, there is a way to avoid waiting periods altogether. If you prefer, you can also purchase a type of insurance that will cover your treatments.

Exclusion periods often come with the territory if you have a medical condition. However, you can avoid these waiting periods entirely if you enroll in a group health plan. If your spouse has an employer sponsored health plan, try to enroll as soon as possible. Be sure to maintain your coverage no matter what! Under HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, you cannot be subjected to a pre-existing condition exclusion period when you switch to another plan. You must switch from one group plan to another for this to apply. You must also maintain insurance coverage for at least a year, with no breaks in coverage longer than 63 days.

If you switch jobs and do not qualify for health insurance right away, you might want to try an alternative such as a guaranteed-issue plan. An insurer cannot refuse to accept you for a guaranteed-issue plan. Many states require one or more insurance companies to provide this type of health coverage. Guaranteed-issue plans might also be called portability or HIPAA plans. The amount and type of plans available will differ depending on your state, but you should always have the option to enroll. This is a decent way to avoid waiting periods based on pre-existing medical conditions.

The final option is to enroll in your state’s high-risk pool. As of this year, every state has some sort of state high-risk pool for those who cannot get insurance elsewhere. Some states offer their own pools, while the federal government will run others. Either way, the result is the same. These plans are a good alternative if you truly have no other option. You will not be able to qualify if you are eligible for Medicare or Medicaid, however. These are just some of the ways you can avoid health insurance waiting periods.