Look-Back Periods by State

The following list details the amount of time that insurers would have considered for pre-existing conditions when applying for health insurance — prior to health reform. Each state had a different maximum look-back period, which would have been important to know before purchasing private health insurance. As the definition of pre-existing condition varied from company to company and region to region, it was difficult to know what might have been considered a condition, but if you had an illness that met an insurer’s criteria during the look-back period, you were likely subject to decline or very high premiums.

As the laws effective January 1. 2014 void these rules completely, view the table below as a piece of health insurance history. Locate your state and reflect on how difficult it was to qualify for coverage before this point. Without doing the research, some people would have been startled when an acne cream prescribed five years before filling out an application caused their premiums to escalate. To further educate prospective applicants before Obamacare eliminated this issue, we also┬ácompiled a list of pre-existing conditions to give a better idea of what to expect when you applied for your health plan — or now, as another historical reference.

Regardless of current or future changes to federal and state laws, we always want you to make the most informed decision possible, avoid any surprises and get covered.

*This table reflects state regulations as of July 2012.