Family to Family Iowa

ACA and pre-existing conditions

Posted 7/25/2012

On June 28, the Supreme Court confirmed the constitutionality of the health care law. Thanks to this decision and the protections offered by the law, the millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions can rest easy knowing that, beginning in 2014, they can no longer be denied health coverage because of their health status.

Donna's son no longer has to worry about his pre-existing conditions, what about you? Do you have a story? Tell us at

Just how many people will benefit from these new protections? To find out, Families USA commissioned The Lewin Group to quantify the number of Americans who have been diagnosed with pre-existing conditions. We also took a closer look at who exactly will be protected, in each state and in each county. The report found that no group is immune to the effects of the pervasive problem of pre-existing conditions: young and old, black and white, rich and poor. To be exact, more than 64.8 million non-elderly Americans have been diagnosed with pre-existing conditions, meaning that one in every four non-elderly Americans (24.9 percent) would be at risk of being denied coverage today without health reform. Moreover, the report found that even if you don’t have a pre-existing condition today, it is very likely you could develop one with age. Although adults ages 45 to 64 account for only 30 percent of the non-elderly population, they make up nearly half (48.4 percent) of those diagnosed with a pre-existing condition. So even if you do not need these protections today, knowing they will be there for you in the future provides critical peace of mind.

All Americans, at some point in their lives, have either personally experienced what it means to have a pre-existing condition or have known someone that has. No one is immune. Whether you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes or your cousin is battling cancer, it can happen to all of us. And for many, it can have devastating consequences. Take Donna C. of Arizona, whose son has two pre-existing conditions for example. After Donna’s son lost his job, and ultimately, his health insurance, he ended up accruing $60,000 in medical debt after two emergency hospital visits.

Please use this report to convey just how important it is that we continue to move forward with implementation of the health care law. We have broken down the numbers state-by-state and county-by-county so that you can emphasize just how important these reforms are for your community. We will be posting reports for the next few weeks, so if you don’t see your state, please make sure to check back.

For too long, millions of Americans have suffered under our broken health care system. We are finally taking steps to make sure everyone has equal access to care. Let’s make sure we keep it that way.

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