COVID-19 as a preexisting condition

As medical experts continue to learn about the lingering health effects of COVID-19, policy experts are raising another concern — that insurers could classify coronavirus as a preexisting condition. 

That means that if Obamacare’s protections for people with preexisting conditions had gone away, hundreds of thousands of Californians who have tested positive for the virus could potentially find themselves with pricier coverage — or none at all. (There are no preexisting condition limits for people on Medicare, which primarily covers people 65 and over.)

Researchers at the Commonwealth Fund estimate that nationally, about 3.9 million adults under age 59 have had COVID-19 and had no prior condition. COVID-19 has been linked to damage of the lungs, heart and other organs. The uncertainty of how vast these effects could be is enough for insurers to want to label coronavirus as a preexisting condition, the Commonwealth researchers say.