CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Senate on Tuesday passed a measure ensuring insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions will be maintained even if former President Barack Obama’s health care law is struck down in federal court.
The West Virginia Health Care Continuity Act would prohibit insurance companies from limiting enrollment because of a pre-existing condition. The measure would also require the state insurance commissioner to ensure various aspects of health care are covered, and people could stay on their parents’ insurance plan until they turn 26 years old.
Tuesday’s final vote was 20-14.
The measure comes as West Virginia is part of a multi-state coalition arguing “Obamacare” is unconstitutional. A federal appeals court in December struck down the law’s individual mandate and ordered a federal Texas judge to determine what parts of “Obamacare” are separable from the provision.
A 2018 West Virginia University report notes 719,000 non-elderly West Virginians have a pre-existing condition.
State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has supported the measure as well as West Virginia’s involvement in the lawsuit.
“Passage of the bill will put West Virginia out in front and show the nation how West Virginia unites to ensure that everyone – including those with preexisting conditions – has the ability to purchase health insurance.”
Democratic states and the U.S. House of Representatives have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider taking up the matter amid the legal challenge. Justices are expected to continue discussions on the case this Friday.
The final verdict in the legal challenge is expected after this year’s presidential election.