Can I Get Insurance With a Pre-Existing Condition?

Having a pre-existing medical condition can make dealing with insurance companies difficult. Because most insurance companies operate on a for-profit basis, they're not excited about taking on clients that already have built-in risk. Be it diabetes or a heart condition or countless other ailments, these illnesses have a high amount of guaranteed risk that the insurance company is going to have to pay.

What Is a Pre-existing Condition?

Any medical condition you've been seeing a doctor for, or have been treated for, is considered a pre-existing condition. Of course, each company has a different definition of what a pre-existing condition is. The period of time you've had the condition before beginning the policy also varies, but 6 months prior to the policy start date is standard. Some policies also require a waiting period for a pre-existing condition before they will cover your care, typically 12 months after joining or upgrading to the policy.

Some health problems are excluded in certain instances, such as in travel insurance, so you'll want to read the fine print in your particular policy. For example, if you have asthma but haven't had an attack for a year prior to the policy date, you don't have to worry about it being considered a pre-existing condition. In some cases, diabetes may not be considered a problem either, as long as blood sugar levels are low and no drug treatment is needed.

In any case, most insurance companies will want a medical exam or information to better process your policy application. The companies take risk in insuring you, so they want to know the details about the risk they're taking when they sign you on. All information they find will be confidential, so there's no worry about your condition becoming public knowledge.

To Lie, Or Not To Lie.

Unfortunately, if you are looking for insurance of any kind, your pre-existing condition is going to either cause you to be denied or your premium will be sky-high. Even if it's tempting to not tell the insurance company about your illness, don't give in. It's important to disclose this information to the insurance company because eventually the company will discover your deceit. Your claim will be unpaid when you need it most, resulting in high medical costs for you or your family. This is more costly in the long run than paying a higher premium for the condition to begin with.

So What Can I Do?

There are several things you can do to save on insurance if you have a pre-existing medical condition. First, shop around to find the best policy, and remember cheapest isn't always best. The cheap policy may not cover certain aspects that you need, costing you more money in the long run.

Next, find a good insurance broker. An insurance broker is a middle-man between you, the consumer, and insurance companies selling policies. He or she can negotiate with several different companies to get you the best policy.

Finally, you can contact a local organization advocating for your medical problem to see if they offer insurance schemes to members. For example, Diabetes Australia has state and local organizations that offer insurance benefits to members.

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