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HHS releases pre-existing condition rule

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HHSThe U.S. Health and Human Services Department released new rules Tuesday requiring health insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions.

Besides implementing provisions that would make it illegal, beginning in 2014, for insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing or chronic conditions, the new regulations for the Affordable Care Act would make it easier for consumers to compare health plans and employers to promote and encourage employee wellness, the department said in a release.

"The Affordable Care Act is building a health insurance market that works for consumers," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. "Thanks to the healthcare law, no one will be discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition."

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said the healthcare law recognizes that "well-run, equitable workplace wellness programs allow workers to access services that can help them and their families lead healthier lives," which benefit employers because of reduced costs associated with a healthier workforce.

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