Liz Weston: How losing Obamacare could cost you

If the Supreme Court throws out the Affordable Care Act, your finances and your future could pay the price.

THE RETURN OF PREEXISTING CONDITIONS

The Trump administration and a group of Republican attorneys general have asked that the entire law be thrown out. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on Nov. 10.

Before the ACA, insurers routinely used preexisting health conditions as a reason to deny coverage or charge people more. Preexisting conditions included serious ailments such as cancer or heart disease as well as more common conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes and obesity, and temporary conditions including pregnancy. Insurers denied about 1 in 5 applications for individual policies because of preexisting conditions, and some employer-provided group policies required people to wait up to a year before their preexisting conditions were covered.

President Trump signed an executive order in September announcing “a steadfast commitment to always protecting individuals with preexisting conditions,” but the order alone can’t force insurers to offer coverage if the ACA is struck down.

And America is a land of preexisting conditions. Half of adults under age 65, or up to 133 million people, had health issues that could cause them to be denied coverage or charged exorbitant premiums, according to a 2017 government analysis.

‘USE IT AND LOSE IT’ COVERAGE

Health insurance is meant to help people pay their medical expenses and avoid potentially catastrophic bills. Before Obamacare, however, using your insurance could cause you to lose it.

If someone with an individual insurance policy got sick, the insurer could scour the person’s application looking for errors. Even minor mistakes could cause the company to revoke the policy, a practice called

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