The easiest way to understand the debate over preexisting conditions in health-care coverage — a debate fueled this week by Jimmy Kimmel’s repeated disparagement of the new Republican plan to overhaul Obamacare — is to look at the Obamacare website.
As of writing, Healthcare.gov explains what protections the Affordable Care Act provides to those with conditions that, before the bill’s passage, may have resulted in denial of coverage or sharply increased premiums.
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“All Marketplace plans must cover treatment for pre-existing medical conditions,” it reads. “No insurance plan can reject you, charge you more, or refuse to pay for essential health benefits for any condition you had before your coverage started. Once you’re enrolled, the plan can’t deny you coverage or raise your rates based only on your health.”
That’s the law under the Affordable Care Act (better known as Obamacare). Not only must insurers offer those with preexisting conditions coverage, they can’t charge people more for having those conditions and can’t refuse to pay for essential health benefits — a slew of treatments and services defined elsewhere on the site.