Monday, November 30, 2009

Health & Wellness

Health Care Reform Clears First Major Hurdle

Almost every week, a call or email comes in sharing yet another story of someone unable to get health insurance because they or a family member has celiac disease. Eliminating pre-existing conditions is a top issue in health care reform. Thankfully, the House of Representatives has now passed legislation which would bar insurers from using a prior health condition to deny coverage.

This was the first major hurdle for the Affordable Health Care for America Act, H.R. 3962. The bill also removes lifetime and annual limits on benefits and covers preventive services with no cost to the patient.

The importance of this legislation for persons with celiac disease or any other chronic health condition cannot be understated. Insurance companies could no longer refuse to cover customers with pre-existing medical conditions. A new program would be created immediately to assist individuals currently unable to obtain insurance due because of prior or ongoing medical conditions. Lifetime and annual limits on benefits would be prohibited. Limitations would also be placed on how premiums are set and insurers could not use health status to charge higher rates. Additionally, plans would be required to cover preventive health services at no cost to the patient.

The insurance market reforms in H.R. 3962 are critically important. Today, if an individual struggles for years before being properly diagnosed with celiac disease, the risk of being denied health insurance is very high. Once properly diagnosed and following a strict gluten-free diet, patients can still have difficulty finding affordable health insurance. This must change.

As the umbrella organization for celiac disease in this country, the American Celiac Disease Alliance (ACDA) has been able to represent the needs and concerns of patients, researchers, and others, on the issue of health reform.

Find out how your representative voted

My family had a very difficult year dealing with COBRA and the loss of our insurance.  I fully understand how important it is for all of us to be able to obtain and keep affordable health insurance.  Please check this out, as I think it is so vital that insurance companies are not allowed to call all of the shots when it comes to our health and well being! 
The Celiac Shack
Making gluten free fun one day at a time!

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