As pieces of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act go into effect, UP will continue to explain new options and rules. In our June 2010 Tip of the Month we touched on the new protection that went into effect for parents who want to put their children back onto their insurance plans. Since that time, a new insurance option has become available for people with pre-existing conditions.

If a pre-existing condition has prevented you from having health insurance for six months or more, you can now buy the coverage through your state's newly created Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP). Rates will be based on your age - not your condition.

And, as of last September, children ages 1-26 can come back onto a parent's health insurance plan when the plan comes up for renewal. Insurers cannot refuse to insure a child under 19 years old because of a pre-existing condition. Insurers can refuse an adult child 19-26 with a pre-existing condition but that adult child can now seek coverage through the PCIP if they can't find or afford another option.