This is the second in a series of blog posts celebrating the benefits that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides to people with disabilities. For the full list of prior and upcoming blog posts, see yesterday’s news item.
The ACA Provides for Guaranteed Renewability of Coverage
In yesterday’s blog post, we highlighted the ACA’s prohibition against denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. However, that is just one prong of the protections that the ACA provides to ensure that everyone can get access to health insurance if they want it. The second of the “guaranteed issue” protections provided by the ACA is the requirement that every consumer who has insurance has the guaranteed renewability of their coverage. In other words, health insurance companies cannot cancel someone’s plan just because they start costing too much or simply because they acquire a health condition.
Most people are familiar with other types of insurance, such as auto insurance where their company can cancel their coverage if they are too careless and cause too many accidents or incur too many traffic violations. Prior to the ACA, health insurance companies were able to do the same thing to their customers and kick them off their policy if they started costing too much or became a higher risk. Having the right to enroll in health insurance would be meaningless if the insurance company was then able to simply kick someone off their plan in the future.
Together with the prohibition against denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, the guaranteed renewability of coverage provides a bookend to protect people both at the beginning and end of the process of selecting a health insurance plan, so the protections the ACA provides for people with disabilities and other chronic medical conditions is important both for beginning and maintaining coverage.