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By Wade Iwata
Tuesday, March 22, 2011

March 23rd, 2011 marked the one year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (Health Care Reform) being signed into law by President Obama. While some changes have been made, our health care system continues to be a source of anxiety and fear for many people, especially those confronting a major medical crisis such as a brain tumor.  

Being diagnosed with a brain or spinal cord tumor is an often scary and emotional time; add on to it the stress of finding health insurance and it can quickly become overwhelming. In 2010 the Affordable Care Act made it mandatory for health insurance companies to offer insurance to children under the age of 19 despite having a pre-existing condition. While this was a huge victory for many families across the country, unfortunately it will not address the insurance needs of the many uninsured young adult and adult survivors’ of childhood illness until 2014. Many people ask the question, what are you supposed to do for health insurance until 2014 if you are over the age of 19 and have a pre-existing condition? 

For some people paying out of pocket for health insurance is an option, however, most people are unable to afford the high cost of individual plans. Others find help through the high risk pools each state offers. There is another option many people have not been aware of which was started in July 2010 called Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans, or PCIP’s as they are known. PCIP’s tend to offer a more economical alternative to the widely used high risk pools, which are NOT being replaced by PCIP’s. Depending on what state you live in, PCIP’s are either run by the individual state using federal funding, or are run by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, which means there will be different requirements for many of the programs.   Certain eligibility restrictions are frustrating, such as having to be uninsured for a period of at least six months, as well as having been denied by an insurance carrier for individual coverage because of your pre-existing condition.   While these restrictions are not ideal, this plan is hopefully a step in the right direction to assist with the overwhelming costs of health care by helping those with pre-existing conditions obtain health insurance.

For more information on PCIP’s visit the following link:

For more information on Health Care Reform and the Affordable Care Act:

Finally, the Kaiser Family Foundation made a short video explaining about healthcare reform in a unique and fun way. You can access the video at:



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