State Rep. Patti Minter, D-Bowling Green, has pre-filed a bill for the 2020 General Assembly that would mandate that insurance companies in Kentucky continue to cover preexisting conditions in the event the Affordable Care Act is overturned.
Parts of the Affordable Care Act, which then-President Barack Obama signed into law in 2010, are still being challenged in courts, and Republican politicians have made repealing the law a priority issue.
A provision of the ACA requires insurance carriers to provide coverage for those with preexisting conditions. That provision “is incredibly important and the most beloved (provision) across party lines,” Minter said.
Bill Request 180 “protects people with preexisting conditions – that was my inspiration,” the 20th District representative said.
As many as 82 million Americans with employer-based insurance have a preexisting condition, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The state bill would only go into effect if the ACA is overturned or is changed, either by courts or lawmakers.
“The fate of the ACA is the trigger” for the state bill to take effect, Minter said.
A few states have some protections for those with preexisting conditions on a state level, but most, including Kentucky, don’t.
“Kentuckians would be completely exposed,” Minter said. “I saw this hole in Kentucky law and I want to make sure no Kentuckian will lose their coverage.”
The state bill would apply to both group insurance and individual insurance. The bill also would outlaw price-gouging of those with preexisting conditions and ban artificially long waiting periods.
Minter said not being able to get insurance stymies entrepreneurs and others who are self-employed.
The issue is also personal, she said, because her son has diabetes. Although he has insurance coverage through her job at Western Kentucky University, dealing with it changed her life, she said, and “an issue I never thought about became very real.”
Minter said she plans to get some co-sponsors of the bill by the time the next legislative session starts Jan. 6.