What’s the deal with pre-existing conditions?

I need help figuring out health insurance. I’m an adult (mid 30’s) who hasn’t had health insurance for 5 years, after leaving my 9-5 and becoming self employed. It wasn’t a simple decision, my hand was forced by a car accident that changed my ability to work my previous job. It’s been a long difficult road but I’m finally able to stand up on my own 2 feet again and I’m ready to get insurance.

I reached out to someone I know through networking and found out the open enrollment period is over and they have no plans available that cover pre-existing conditions.

According to healthcare.gov “All Marketplace plans must cover treatment for pre-existing medical conditions.” Literally everything I need treatment for is a pre-existing condition. So can someone adultier and more experienced with insurance please help explain what this means?

Can I get health care outside of the open enrollment period that will cover my back pain, my mental illness and other pre-existing conditions? If they won’t cover them, what does that mean? That I pay out of pocket completely for those treatments? Even though the health care website says what it says?

I’m confused and frustrated and a bit angry that I live in the US at the moment. Up until I left my 9-5, I had health insurance through work and never had to think about this stuff. I also have some trauma around doctors and health care so this is difficult for me to navigate mentally.

I appreciate your time and help.

submitted by /u/Powerful_Cause_14