I have recently read in the press a number of mentions of the phrase “developing a pre-existing condition.” For instance, a Cato Institute paper discusses this phenomenon and how you can buy insurance against developing a pre-existing condition.
This phrase seem paradoxical however. How can you develop a pre-existing condition? Before you “developed” the condition, it was not pre-existing. Once the condition comes into existence, at what point is it pre-existing? Immediately?
The phrase is more likely derived from the language of insurance companies rather than common sense. If you get sick during a given year and have to renew your insurance over the subsequent year, the illness you developed during the past year will become a pre-existing condition next year when you need to buy insurance. Thus, by becoming sick, you immediately have a pre-existing condition which will affect your future health insurance premiums.
Only in the crazy language of insurance-speak would it be possible to develop a pre-existing condition.