As a physician, one of the things that frustrates me is when people are denied health insurance or are forced to pay extremely high premiums because they have a "pre-existing" medical condition. Now, as a part of the Affordable Care Act, children and adults that have a preexisting medical condition and have been without health insurance for the past 6 months are eligible for insurance through the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP).
In order to be eligible for the PCIP, one must be a US citizen, or be residing in the US legally. The individual also needs to provide a letter from a physician stating that they currently have a medical condition, disability or illness or that they had one within the past 12 months. So far over 35,000 people have enrolled in the PCIP.
This is a transitional program that will be available until 2014. After 2014, people with pre-existing conditions will be eligible for health insurance through insurance exchanges. Also after 2014 it will be illegal for insurance companies to deny people health insurance coverage or charge higher premiums because they have a pre-existing condition.
More information on this topic can be found at these links:
Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan. https://www.pcip.gov/
Health System Reform Insight, Federal insurance plan provides coverage for pre-existing Conditions (August 25, 2011), https://exchweb.bcm.tmc.edu/owa/redir.aspx?C=c744625626ce42d0931a6030547d7e8e&URL=http%3a%2f%2fwww.ama-assn.org%2fama%2fpub%2fnews%2fnewsletters-journals%2fhsr-insight-archive%2faugust-2011%2f25aug2011.page