then in practice the health insurers will make your life miserable.
My experience is that people most need their health insurance when they are already miserable. After a major accident, a debilitating illness, a sick child. Then the insurance company comes along and does everything possible to pay as little as possible. Hiring a minimum wage claims worker to send you fifty rejection letters for payment is heck of a lot cheaper than paying a $65,000 medical bill from a car accident.
In my case, my insurance company paid a lawyer to deny my coverage was valid, for months, because that was cheaper than just paying the bills. I absolutely had legal insurance (through my university) but they had zero qualms about trying to retroactively deactivate my policy. Any why would they? They're a for-profit corporation with stockholders who want to see their income maximized and their expenses minimized, and the easiest way to accomplish that is to continue collecting premiums and then refuse to pay as many claims as possible. The financial incentives for for-profit insurance companies are exactly backwards. They make money by screwing with you in your must vulnerable state.
I was in ICU when my insurance company started breaking their own rules, and then a nursing home after that, and I had to fight them on it while I was unable to use a telephone due to my injuries. Evil, predatory companies. It still makes me angry just thinking about it, all these years later.
Just chiming in here to violently agree some more.
While not nearly as bad as your situation, I'll share my anecdote.
I turned 26 seven months before the age 26 provision in ACA kicked in. Many insurers/employers simply left people like me on the plan, rather than processing the removal/re-add. Not Aetna.
So I went to my independent insurance agent and said "please sell me insurance." It so happened that Aetna offered the best option for an individual plan, so I filled out all the paperwork and all that.
I have Factor V Leiden, which is a genetic mutation, but not a disease. Critically, I have no personal history of blood clots. They denied me coverage based on a "pre-existing condition." I called and explained which federal laws they were violating, and they said they didn't care, appeals have to be done in writing, no exceptions.
Fine. So I send them a strongly-worded letter with U.S.C. citations (mostly https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_Information_Nondiscrimination_Act
). To which they reply, fine, but we're charging you a higher premium. I sent another letter citing the exact same laws I cited the first time, explaining how this was also illegal.
Four months later I had (retroactive) insurance that I never used, and went back on my parental plan as soon as ACA took effect.