Unspeakably, many cancer patients have found themselves without medical insurance due to provisions in many policies restricting coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. As is probably self-evident, pre-existing conditions are those that arose in the policyholder prior to enrolling in the insurance plan. Insurance companies can deny coverage for any type of pre-existing condition ranging from old sports injuries to asthma to cancer.
Pre-existing condition laws vary state-by-state, but 45 states in the nation allow insurance companies to deny benefits based on pre-existing conditions; a law that many believe amounts to discrimination and should not be tolerated. In a recent survey, 10% of those polled have been denied coverage because they were suffering from cancer before attempting to enroll in a policy. Cancer patients who are denied coverage may be able to access insurance through high-risk policies but at a much higher rate and deductible than the average policyholder.
Health insurance reformists are actively lobbying for changes to pre-existing condition laws, especially as they relate to cancer patients. In addition, unscrupulous “supplemental insurance” providers have preyed on this vulnerable class of people by offering 110% supplemental coverage for all cancer-related medical costs only to later deny claims under loopholes or unconscionable contract provisions. These groups change contract terms mid-coverage without alerting policyholders, who are then left with gigantic medical bills to pay.
Cancer patients facing difficulty paying medical bills due to a pre-existing condition or those that have been targeted by bad faith supplemental insurance providers should not hesitate to contact an attorney regarding these issues. Lawsuits have sprung up across the nation to hold insurance providers responsible for their actions and many state legislatures have looked into reform with regard to certain pre-existing conditions.
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