Pregnant and Pre-Existing


Every now and then I read something that a politician or corporate type thinks is logical and just scratch my head. Yesterday I was scanning a report from Reuters on the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s report on denial of coverage among the big insurers — notably Aetna, Humana, United-Health, and WellPoint.

Basically the numbers are headed in the wrong direction. In 2007, about 172,400 people were denied health insurance due to pre-existing conditions. In 2009, that number jumped to 257,100. The committee predicts that between now and 2014 when the whole pre-existing condition thing becomes illegal, the situation will actually get worse. Right now, only children are protected against denial of coverage.

But what really got me was this.”The four insurers all considered pregnancy a pre-existing condition to trigger automatic denial for a plan.” I’m sorry. Did I not pass high school biology? Okay, I suppose if you’re pregnant and you apply for coverage, you did, in a temporal sense, come into the application with a pre-existing little surprise in your tummy — which will be out of there in a matter of months.

If you came into the application process with, oh — say — Parkinson’s Disease, that won’t be gone come spring. By any logical understanding of “pre-existing condition” one scenario flies and the other says, “We don’t want to actually spend any money in benefits, we just want to make dang sure we get your premium dollars.”

So, ladies, word to the wise, get your health care ducks in a row before you decide to put a bun in the oven. (Seriously, carefully check any insurance policy for its provisions regarding pregnancy. This is one area where insurers work hard to sidestep paying benefits.)

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