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Is Miscarriage A Pre-Existing Condition Under The AHCA? A Lot Could Change If Obamacare Is Repealed

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There has been a flood of information circulating since the House of Representatives pass a version of the American Health Care Act last week, most notably that pre-existing conditions might no longer be covered by insurers. Many of the fears stem from women's health care advocates, who worry that C-sections, pregnancy, or even a miscarriage could be a pre-existing condition under the AHCA or whatever version of the health care bill that eventually passes. But could that really be the case?

Right now, there is no way that an insurer can deny anyone coverage because of a pre-existing condition, since the Affordable Care Act is still the law; It also prevents insurers from charging people more based on their medical history. But the AHCA bill that passed in the House last week would allow states to decide whether insurance companies could deny coverage or charge higher premiums for their pre-existing conditions through the MacArthur-Meadows Amendment. Although that amendment does state that insurers can't discriminate based on gender, back before the time of the ACA, insurers often charged women more for health insurance if they were or had previously been pregnant.

So the rumors that a miscarriage could be considered a pre-existing condition aren't completely unfounded, although Republicans continue to insist that the AHCA would protect everyone.

Although there isn't a legal way to discriminate based on gender in AHCA, there are a lot of gender related conditions that could be considered a pre-existing condition, so it's a little more nuanced than some GOP supporters let on. For example, if there are complications with a pregnancy that are specifically tied to the miscarriage, those could be considered a pre-existing condition under the proposed Republican health care bill. Likewise, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues might be considered a pre-existing condition and could lead to higher premiums. So if a woman went to therapy after miscarrying, that could theoretically count.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, under the proposed AHCA, pregnancy (for either expectant parent) could be a pre-existing condition; Pre-natal care or fertility treatments might also fall under that umbrella. So any American who has had a child or is expecting to have one soon would likely be affected by any version of the GOP's health care bill if it resembles the House version of AHCA in any way.

The most recent version of the AHCA made it to the House because Trump and GOP leaders promised the Freedom Caucus that they would strip maternity care from insurance plans, under the reasoning that men shouldn't have to pay for women's reproductive care. The GOP bill might not allow insurers to deny coverage based on pregnancy or miscarriage, but they can charge women more. Even though women pay for tons of health conditions that affect men, or that men have a stake in women's pregnancies and general health.

There's no reason to assume that anyone who's suffered a miscarriage would have to disclose that while applying for individual insurance (people who are insured by their employers are protected, until they lose their job). But for now, it's worth telling your senators that you're worried about the fate of pre-existing conditions in their version of the bill if you've ever been pregnant or plan to be.