What Is A Pre-Existing Condition?

By Antonia Čirjak on February 2 2020 in Society

Should health insurers be allowed to deny coverage to individuals who have a pre-existing condition?
Should health insurers be allowed to deny coverage to individuals who have a pre-existing condition?

A pre-existing condition refers to any type of health condition that existed before a contract between a patient and an insurance company is made. A wide spectrum of health issues is categorized as a pre-existing condition. Asthma, allergies, diabetes, or even high blood pressure is labeled as a pre-existing medical condition. Why is this important to know? Let's find out.

High Insurance Bills Before Obamacare

Health and life insurance companies, in most cases, will not cover any problems that are caused by a pre-existing condition. This can even extend to the patient’s family health history. If one of your parents had any pre-existing condition, you will most likely not be compensated for any expenses for your medical bills. In fact, the premium you pay monthly to an insurance company is going to be higher if this was not the case.  

In the United States, before President Barack Obama brought up the Affordable Care Act (better known as Obamacare) the health insurance companies had their hands free to charge you more for their policies. Before Obamacare, if you or any members of your family had any pre-existing conditions, you could be denied the expense coverage completely. 


After President Donald Trump took over the White House, he tried to establish the so-called Trumpcare. From 2016, there have been numerous attempts to bring down Obamacare in the American Congress. However, these efforts have failed every time. In 2017, the White House suggested that insurance companies could use the category of pre-existing conditions to raise their prices. After the AHCA (American Health Care Act) bill did not go through, the republicans suggested another alternative called the Graham-Cassidy-Heller health care bill.

What If You Were A Woman?

The Graham-Cassidy-Heller bill would have hit the women of America the most if it was supported in Congress. This is because, before Obamacare, there were about 29.4 million women below 65 years of age that had pre-existing conditions. With the same age population in men, that number was around 22 million. Women would pay higher premiums for their medical insurance because of all sorts of reasons that were supported by the pre-existing condition argument. If you were pregnant, if you had breast cancer or even irregular periods, your insurance premium would be higher.

But it did not stop there. 

If you were a woman with mental health issues, the same rule would apply. The statistics say that women are 40% more likely to suffer from mental problems than men. Without Obamacare, a woman would pay around $8,500 more than a man would, even though they were treated for the same health issue. 

What About Ethnicities? 

This affected the Latino and African American women living in the US even more. The African-American women and women that are transgender are the ones hit with HIV the most, and they suffered from getting the proper care the most. Dealing not only with obstacles posed by racism, but these women that live with HIV were also receiving astronomically high bills. The insurance companies could even deny them from any coverage. 

If you were pregnant, you could be charged for more than $17,000, if the Graham-Cassidy-Heller bill got approved. Oh, and to finally nail the coffin, if you were lucky to survive breast cancer, you could have been charged almost $30,000 more that year. 

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