Lifetime and Annual Benefits Caps
I hope it is clear pre-existing protections #2 and #3 are just as vital as #1. What good would it do to have the legal option to purchase a health insurance plan with an astronomical price tag that is completely unaffordable? Along the same lines, what good is it to be able to purchase an insurance plan, if insurers are legally allowed to carve out (exclude) vital coverage for your cystic fibrosis/diabetes/cancer? These 3 protections were designed to WORK TOGETHER to protect the most vulnerable in our society. I'm deeply concerned about the current political banter regarding pre-existing conditions because it usually sounds something like this...
I've heard some discussion about the use of "high-risk pools," as a method of insuring those with pre-existing conditions after the repeal of the ACA. This is a strategy that has been utilized in the past (before the ACA), and was a costly disaster for people with cystic fibrosis. If you think premiums are high now...wait until you are dependent on the high-risk pool rates--they are the highest of all!!! High risk patients means high priced premiums--so high that they were completely out of range for many who needed it most. I would encourage those who experienced coverage under a "high-risk pool plan" prior to the ACA to leave a comment. Past experience with this strategy has proven that reducing coverage options to high-risk pools for those with pre-existing conditions was NOT AFFORDABLE, ADEQUATE, or ACCESSIBLE. The failure to provide good healthcare under high-risk pool plans was one of the very reasons why the pre-existing protections were included in the ACA. We absolutely don't want to go backward with our rights to access better coverage plans at lower rates than those offered to high-risk pools.
If you or someone you love is living with cystic fibrosis or ANY OTHER CHRONIC DISEASE REQUIRING TREATMENT, I hope that you are convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that changes to healthcare policy will have a personal impact. RIGHT NOW it is a critical time to be a part of healthcare policy discussions, and make our lawmakers aware of how these coverage issues will impact the CF community. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE follow this link to tell Congress to protect your coverage. You don't need to be a policy expert...the most powerful thing we can do is share personal experiences on why coverage is so vital for those with CF. We need your voice to ensure that healthcare policy changes don't become a painful "sucker punch" to our beloved community.
***For the record, I understand that high insurance premiums are a concern for many American families whether cystic fibrosis is part of the picture or not. I am not saying that this is not an important issue... but it is a FACT that rising premiums were an issue long before the ACA. I understand that the cost of premiums is prohibitive for many, and we aren't giving up on advocating for lower cost coverage!! The issues I've outlined in this blog, rather, represent the portions of the ACA that would be the most catastrophic for those with CF if repealed (which we anticipate early this year) without appropriate replacement.