New Report Reveals 57.2 Million Non-Elderly Americans Will Gain Protections from Health Reform Law Prohibiting Insurance Coverage Denials and Discriminatory Premiums
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Approximately 57.2 million people under the age of 65—more than one in five (22.4 percent) of America’s non-elderly population—have a diagnosed pre-existing condition that could lead to a denial of coverage in the individual health insurance market, according to a report released today by the consumer health organization Families USA.
Once the newly-enacted health reform law is implemented, these people will gain significant protections: The new law prohibits insurance companies from denying health coverage to people due to pre-existing conditions; from charging discriminatory premiums based on health status; and from excluding benefits that would treat their health conditions.
The report shows that, while individuals in all age groups have pre-existing health conditions, this is a problem that grows with age:
“The tens of millions of Americans with diagnosed health conditions, and the many others who at some point may receive such a diagnosis, are the people most in need of health care coverage,” said Ron Pollack, Families USA’s Executive Director. “Thankfully, the new health reform legislation will protect all these individuals from the most harmful insurance company abuses that deny such critical coverage.”
In its analysis, Families USA indicated that the 57.2 million number may understate how many people have pre-existing conditions because it only reflects those with diagnosed pre-existing conditions. Americans who are currently uninsured or underinsured, and who cannot afford care, often do not seek treatment and, as a result, their health condition may not be diagnosed.
The uninsured and those who do not have access to job-based coverage are at greatest risk; however, even those who now have coverage at work could be at risk if they lose or leave their jobs and have to find coverage in the individual market.
Income is no protection against an individual’s having a pre-existing condition that could lead to a denial of coverage, and the 57.2 million Americans with diagnosed pre-existing conditions range across all income levels.
Individuals in every racial and ethnic group have diagnosed pre-existing conditions that, absent reform, could lead to a denial of coverage.
“As our study shows, more than one-fifth of the non-elderly population will now gain protections that they need to secure affordable health coverage,” said Pollack. “As more and more people learn about these protections, they will no doubt cherish the enactment of health care reform.”
The data for the report were based on data on health conditions from the federal Medical Expenditures Panel Survey and demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS). Families USA commissioned The Lewin Group to analyze the data.
A full description of the methodology is in the Technical Appendix of the report, which can be found at:
Families USA is the national organization for health care consumers. It advocates for high-quality, affordable health coverage for everyone.
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