Big gaps in Romney plan on pre-existing conditions

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by Laura Matovina

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he has a plan to help people with pre-existing medical conditions get health insurance. But there's a huge catch: You basically have to be covered in the first place.

If you had a significant break in health insurance coverage, an insurer still could delve into your medical history. Common conditions -- from a bad back to high blood pressure -- could lead to denial.

Compared with Romney's approach, President Barack Obama's health care law guarantees that people in poor health can get coverage at the same rates everybody else pays, and it provides financial help for low- to middle-income households.

The law says that, starting Jan. 1, 2014, an insurer "may not impose any pre-existing condition exclusion."