By Elesha Gayman Shahinllari, LFA's Senior Director of Government Relations and Public Policy
Last year, Congress passed and the President signed into law the largest healthcare bill since Medicare was passed into law in 1965. This bill did a number of things but most importantly for people with lupus, it addressed three key needs.
First, the bill eliminated pre-existing condition clauses from insurance policies. In other words, insurance companies can no longer exclude coverage to individuals with chronic or “pre-existing” conditions. Insurance companies will also be banned from charging higher premiums based on gender.
The new healthcare law puts in place a way to insure adult children up to age 26 by allowing them to remain on their parents plans. Given the increasingly young age at which lupus patients are diagnosed, this will be helpful to many who will need time to be able to secure their own individual policy as the new insurance exchanges are brought online.
Finally, with the creation of new insurance pools that will become available in 2012, lupus patients will have more choices in not only securing insurance policies but more choices in what their level of coverage looks like.
Congress has scheduled a vote for this week to repeal the healthcare law. While this law is in no way a silver bullet to the healthcare problems many people with lupus or other chronic conditions face on a daily basis, it does go a long way in making care accessible to everyone. We are urging people to contact their Representatives and remind them what significant policies are in place in this legislation for lupus patients, and ask them to preserve these areas of the law as it is brought again before the House.
You can find your elected official here. Remind them that there is more than 1.5 million Americans living with lupus and we need to make sure they are not denied health-care coverage.