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Health care reform: No pre-existing condition denials for children

Under provisions of health care reform’s Affordable Care Act, your children cannot be denied coverage or have their benefits limited in any way by a health insurance company if they have a pre-existing condition.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), thousands of children each year are born with or develop serious and costly medical conditions. In some cases, their health insurance coverage excludes treatment for these conditions, such as denying chemotherapy to a child who had cancer before the policy went into effect; in other cases, coverage is outright denied.

Research has shown that uninsured children are less likely to get proper preventive care, well-baby visits and vaccinations. They are more likely to miss school and are at greater risk for developing more serious conditions.

This portion of health care reform law applies to all children under age 19 with any kind of medical problem or disability.  It applies to all job-related group health plans and to health insurance plans for individuals that were issued after March 23, 2010.

However, this rule does not affect the so-called "grandfathered plans," as defined by HHS, which are individual health insurance policies purchased for a person or a family -- policies not purchased through work -- on or before March 23, 2010. In 2014, the rule will apply to all plans.

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