People with chronic conditions nervous about GOP health care bill

3/19/2017, 6 a.m.
Valerie Daniel is nervous about the GOP health care bills making their way through Congress.
(Photo: (c) kei907 - Fotolia.com)

— Obamacare eliminated lifetime caps and made it so insurance companies couldn't discriminate against you if you had a pre-existing condition. The current bills do not change either issue, but the bills do incentivize people to have continuous coverage. And large employers would no longer be required to offer affordable insurance to their employees, like they do now.

That means if the bills become law and her husband's company decides to drop its benefits, Daniel could lose her insurance. And although the family has done everything in its power to keep coverage, she said, she could easily see when there could be a gap.

That nearly happened a few years ago, when her husband lost his job. For the three months he was out of work, the family went on COBRA, which is not subsidized. It cost $900 a month. It was such a steep expense, Daniel said, they had to ask family members to help them cover their bills. Without generous family, they could have taken their chances and skipped insurance coverage to keep afloat financially.

But skipping coverage would be an even tougher decision if they faced another job loss. With the proposed GOP health care plan in place, they could face a 30% penalty if they bought a plan on the individual market for the rest of that year.

Daniel said she hopes, whatever Obamacare replacement goes into law, that she and others with chronic conditions will be OK. Until then, she'll be thinking constantly about what could happen to her insurance.

"I'm nervous not knowing the future," Daniel said. "You never know how much you're going to end up with that you're responsible for. You never know how bad it's going to get."