“Think Your Health Care Is Covered? Beware of the ‘Junk’ Insurance Plan” – Kaiser Health Network

junk-insurance-01(KHN Illustration/Getty Images)

by Michelle Andrews

“Looking back, Sam Bloechl knows that when the health insurance broker who was helping him find a plan asked whether he’d ever been diagnosed with a major illness, that should have been a red flag. Preexisting medical conditions don’t matter when you buy a comprehensive individual plan that complies with the Affordable Care Act. Insurers can’t turn people down or charge them more based on their medical history.

“But Bloechl, now 31, didn’t know much about health insurance. So when the broker told him a UnitedHealthcare Golden Rule plan would cover him for a year for less than his marketplace plan — “Unless you like throwing money away, this is the plan you should buy,” he recalls the agent saying — he signed up.

“That was December 2016. A month later Bloechl was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after an MRI showed tumors on his spine.

“To Bloechl’s dismay, he soon learned that none of the expensive care he needed would be covered by his health plan. Instead of a comprehensive plan that complied with the ACA, he had purchased a bundle of four short-term plans with three-month terms that provided only limited benefits and didn’t cover preexisting conditions.”

Read this article in its entirety at Kaiser Health Network, click here.

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