Friday, February 27, 2009

Attacks mount on 'preexisting conditions'

"Most Americans today get health coverage through group plans offered by employers. When workers receive insurance through their jobs, an insurer cannot exclude them from coverage, or charge more, because of a preexisting condition.

But for increasing numbers of Americans who are losing their jobs and their group coverage - or who never had it to begin with - a primary option is to buy insurance as an individual or family on the open market.

In 44 states, including Pennsylvania, insurers are allowed to deny coverage - or charge more - to individuals and families because of preexisting conditions, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Without insurance, these sick Americans too often go without needed care, or go into debt paying out of pocket. A report by the Institute of Medicine confirmed this week that the uninsured get sicker and die sooner.

The exclusion 'is in some ways the ugliest corner of our current system,' said Len Nichols, director of the Health Policy Program at the New America Foundation."

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