23 March, 2010

CNN Example-Adult with pre-existing condition

Ira Bennett hasn't sought health insurance for several years 
because of how disheartened he felt after being denied.

The situation: Ira Bennett, 47 and self-employed without insurance, is HIV-positive, and had a heart attack in his early 40s. He estimates his income is about $500 a month from doing yard work and watching a friend's house. Since he couldn't pay for the $70,000 bill for his heart attack treatment, the costs fell to the state and federal government. Paying for his AIDS medications, costing around $2,000 a month, also falls to federal funding through the Ryan White Care Act.

Bennett says: He hasn't sought health insurance for more than five years because of how disheartened he felt after being denied, and reading about others in a similar situation. Ironically, "I can get insurance for my dog, but I cannot get it for me," he said, pointing tohis iReport. Now, with the new bill, "I can sleep better knowing that I'll be able to be taken care of, that I'm not a burden of the state, that I can actually pull my weight a little bit," he said.

Expert says: In 2014, Medicaid will cover individuals up to 133 percent of the poverty level, Davis said. The current poverty level for an individual in the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia is $10,830, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Also in 2014, insurance companies will not be able to deny adults with a pre-existing condition coverage or charge them higher premiums. Someone like Bennett might be eligible for Medicaid, or could get insurance through an exchange, a state-based pool established by the reform measure.

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