Knowing the difference between medical history and a pre-existing condition

Local News

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) — During the coronavirus pandemic, the term ‘pre-existing condition’ has been used more frequently. Many people are also getting it mixed up with the term ‘medical history.’

“The definition of pre-existing conditions and medical history are fairly similar,” said Shannon Schamel, Internal Medicine Specialist at Arnot Health. “The important difference between them are the context you are using it in.”

Schamel said pre-existing conditions are normally chronic or some type of ‘acute event(s) that has happened to someone in the past.’

“When someone has a chronic medical condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, that would be something in their medical history but that would also be an existing condition,” said Shannon Schamel, Internal Medicine Specialist at Arnot Health. “So some things are both included in your medical history and qualify as a pre-existing condition when you speak of insurance or when you’re talking about data.”

Schamel told 18 News that all pre-existing conditions are considered medical history but not all medical history is an existing condition.

“Some things you include in your medical history, but don’t really qualify as a pre existing condition when you talk about insurance and that would be things like a hip fracture,” Schamel said.

The term pre-existing is normally affiliated with insurance companies, stemming from the Affordable Care Act.

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