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North Dakota lawmakers opt for study instead of preexisting medical condition protections

BISMARCK — A proposal to protect insurance coverage for preexisting medical conditions has been turned into a North Dakota legislative study.

The House last week passed the state Insurance Department's budget bill that included language preventing health insurance policies from taking into account any preexisting condition, "including waiting periods, refusal of coverage, and ratesetting." The amendment was offered by Democratic Rep. Rick Holman amid uncertainty over the Affordable Care Act's future.

But a House-Senate conference committee replaced that provision with a legislative study that would include "consideration of protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions." The Senate passed the bill Wednesday, April 24, hours before the House approved it.

Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread, a Republican, said the previous requirements were "extremely broad" and would affect every health insurance plan in North Dakota.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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