Cancer patient denied health insurance due to medical condition talks about coverage under Obamacare

5:03 PM, Oct 8, 2013   |    comments
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(NBC NEWS) -- One of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act is that insurance companies will not be permitted to deny you coverage in 2014 if you have a pre-existing health condition.

Cancer and heart disease are prime examples.

Bev Veals s is one cancer patient who is looking forward to getting back on track with health insurance.

Veals suffers from stage 3 colon cancer and it's not her first time fighting cancer.

"I kinda first knew that i had a problem back in 1998," Veals said.

That was when she had stage 1 breast cancer which was treated with medication and a mastectomy.

A few years later, while crossing the finish line of the Boston Marathon, she discovered another major problem.

"I put my hand on my chest cuz i was breathing hard and i said oh dear i don't like the feel of that," said Veals.

It was stage 4 breast cancer and the ensuing medical bills were overwhelming.

Her health insurance costs grew every year.

"We were paying basically more than our mortgage in insurance costs," said Veals.

Bev and her husband, Scott, had to file for medical bankruptcy which caused them to loss their home.

Once past her cancer treatments, Bev made the difficult decision to give up her health coverage because it was too expensive.

"It was a gamble. We didn't know what else to do," Veals said.

Starting in 2014 insurance companies will no longer be able to charge patients higher rates or deny coverage to anyone because of pre-existing medical problems.

Doctors say they see this all the time, patients so sick that they were uninsurable under the old system.

"They've delayed care. They've put off care for chronic, serious illnesses that they'll now be able to, in their own mind, afford," said dr. Sharon hull of Duke University Medical Center.

Veals went more than two years without seeing a doctor.

A time when a physician may have been able to catch her third bout of cancer before it progressed.

"I don't like being sick, i don't like being ill, and i don't like costing more to survive than i could ever be able to repay," said Veals.

Now her condition will not define her moving forward.

Bev and her family have explored their insurance options through the exchange and plan to sign up in December.

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