The new healthcare Marketplace opens October 1st. And the Affordable Care Act is a brand new policy that will introduce many changes to Americans. One of the biggest changes is what can and cannot cause an increase to your rates.
"The insurance company could either say we're not going to insurance you at all, or they can say we'll insure you but we won't cover anything related to that condition," says John Felton, President and CEO of RiverStone Health. But that was prior to the Affordable Care Act, when preexisting conditions played a huge role in the your insurance. But with the new policy, those preexisting conditions can no longer work against you. "If you get sick and you've paid your premiums, and you've done everything that you're supposed to do, the insurance company can't decide they're going to drop your coverage, and that used to be something that was allowed."
"This is one of the biggest benefits to families right now is that if you have a member of your family who used to have a pre-existing condition and was being denied coverage by insurance companies," says Montana Insurance Commissioner, Monica Lindeen. "That's not going to be a problem anymore."
Insurance companies won't be able to cancel your coverage, deny you coverage, or raise your rate based on a preexisting condition.
"No longer will insurance companies deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition like cancer or diabetes. They can't do it. And they can't set rates based on that condition either," says Lindeen.
But what does play a role in your insurance rate is your age and if you use tobacco.
"Tobacco used is linked to significant healthcare problems, heart disease, lung disease, cancer. And so, it's very clear that people who smoke, as a group, have higher healthcare costs," says Felton.
Location also plays a role in insurance rates, but should have little affect in Montana. For example, healthcare is more expensive for those who live in big cities like New York or Chicago compared to healthcare costs for those who live in a more rural area.
Stay tuned to KULR-8 News all week for more on the Affordable Care Act.