For anybody with a pre-existing medical condition buying health insurance can be something of a nightmare and, while there are some promises that the ‘discrimination’ against those with pre-existing conditions might disappear following the current Presidential Election, this is almost certainly more political rhetoric than reality. So just how do you go about finding an affordable health insurance plan if you have a current medical problem?
The first and perhaps most important thing to realize is that not all insurance companies are the same and while some will penalize you heavily (or even refuse to cover your condition altogether) others will adopt a much more lenient attitude. So, your search should begin by looking for those companies which view your condition favorably.
Once you have found two or three health insurance companies which will look on your condition reasonably favorably, you then need to look in detail at how they would handle it. For example, if you are very lucky they might not penalize you at all and simply provide you with full cover at no additional cost. Failing this however, they will normally either exclude your condition from cover for a period of time, or agree to cover you for an additional premium.
When it comes to waiting times these should be reasonable and should certainly never exceed a year, effectively requiring you to renew your plan in order to receive the benefit of cover. As a rule of thumb, excluding a condition from cover for a period of three to six months is not generally considered to be unreasonable.
When it comes to additional cost however it is a matter of balancing this against the cost of treatment for your condition without insurance cover and here you will have to make an assessment based upon your experience of treatment to date and the prognosis for your condition. As long as you feel the additional cost is likely to fall below what you would otherwise have to pay then it is probably a good deal. This of course is not always something that is easy to assess and, in the absence of hard data on which to base your decision, it is often a question of simply deciding for yourself whether or not you consider the extra cost is reasonable.
Many people balk at the idea of having to pay extra for covering pre-existing conditions but it makes perfect sense for insurers to levy a charge in what is after all a private insurance market. Insurance premiums, whether for life insurance, car insurance or health insurance are all based upon risk and clearly if you have an existing medical condition the insurance company is at greater risk of having to pay out on your behalf.
Despite all of its problems one advantage of the current insurance market is that it is so large and so competitive that you will almost certainly find what you are looking for as long as you are prepared to take a bit of time and shop around.