Should future health care reform change my health insurance decisions today?
January 17, 2010 1:35 PM   Subscribe

I'm about to purchase private health insurance in the US. How, if at all, should the impending health care reform legislation affect my decision-making process?

(asking anonymously because there is a stigma associated with being uninsured)

Due to a lack of income and high student loan payments, I've been living without health insurance for the past few years. My income is sufficient now that I can finally afford one of the less expensive plans from, say, Freelancers Union. I work as a consultant, for a very small company, so I can't get insurance through my workplace.

My question: is there any reason that the health care reform legislation should affect my decision to get insurance, or my choice of insurer? I haven't been able to follow the debate closely. Should I hold off signing up for a plan until the particulars of the legislation become clear? If the legislation passes, how soon will it go into effect? Could it make a difference on the cost of purchasing private insurance? (would it cost more or less?) I'm concerned about (for instance) a scenario in which I'm unable to sign up for an insurance plan post-reform with lower premiums because of conditions discovered under a prior plan.

I'm a male in his late twenties, if that makes a difference. I'm healthy as far as I know, but I also haven't seen a doctor for quite a while.

Thanks for your help!
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Well no One knows the form of the final legislation, if any. If Coakley is not elected in MA, a lot of pundits say this legislation is DOA.
posted by dfriedman at 1:39 PM on January 17, 2010

Go ahead and do what makes sense now. There might not even be a bill passed, and if it does pass, anything that affects you won't kick in for a few years.

The scenario you mention is exactly the opposite of what will happen if a decent bill gets passed. Right now you'll have a very hard time getting a cheaper private plan if some permanent medical condition is discovered under your current plan. But in the future, it should be easy to switch insurance plans--and they won't be able to reject you or charge you more because of some prior diagnosis.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 2:22 PM on January 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's really never a bad idea to get health insurance because who knows what could happen while we're waiting for this bill/a bill to pass or not pass. Even outside of issues relating to pre-existing conditions, if something serious happened before any sort of bill passes/takes effect and you were uninsured, you would still accrue medical bills.
Relating to pre-existing conditions-- if you don't get insurance now and a health condition is discovered, you will have difficulties getting insurance if the bill doesn't pass. I am not a lawyer or a policy expert, but it seems that the healthcare bill in its current form could only help you if you ended up with a pre-existing condition.
posted by ishotjr at 2:59 PM on January 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

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