One critically important component of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) for our patients has been the creation of Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans (PCIP). There are now plans available in every state, some run by the Federal Government and others by non-profit organizations.
While eligibility criteria in the state-run programs may differ from state-to-state, criteria in the areas served by the federal plan indicate that an applicant must have a pre-existing condition, be a citizen of the US or live in the US legally, and have been without health coverage for at least the past six months. The premiums on these plans are comparable to or less expensive than what most consumers would find on the open market even without a pre-existing condition.
One of my colleagues recently spoke with a client who was diagnosed in July with advanced breast cancer. She lives in rural Texas and has not had insurance coverage for over six months. She is divorced; taking care of elderly parents; and her two sons have, between them, served five tours-of-duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. In her conversation with my colleague, she said that "Obamacare" (as she called it) just went into effect in her region in Texas and she is now enrolled in a healthcare plan that will cover her treatment. Her premium will be just over $300 a month.
She plans to be treated at MD Anderson and when she spoke with a nurse there, was told that her treatment, which will include at least one week in the hospital, will cost a minimum of $200,000, but could cost as much as $2 million depending upon the kinds of medical complications she faces along the way. In the course of her conversation with my colleague, she talked about how scared and humbled she has been by this diagnosis and the search for medical coverage. She would never have been able to consider treatment if not for the PCIP created as a result of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
HealthCare.gov is a Website managed by the US Department of Health and Human Services. It provides a wealth of information on issues related to the PPACA. For more information on PCIPs in your state, try this direct link: