How Many Americans Are Living With Pre-Existing Conditions?


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According to a study performed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, over 130 million Americans under the age of 65 have pre-existing health conditions. Many Americans with pre-existing conditions are concerned that they will be forced to pay higher rates for the healthcare protection they need. Patients with pre-existing conditions need more medical care than those without, so being able to receive proper health coverage is a matter of great importance.

What Is a Pre-Existing Condition?

If your doctor diagnosed you with a health condition prior to the initiation of your medical health insurance plan, you are considered to have a pre-existing condition. The term “pre-existing condition” covers a wide variety of health issues, from something as simple as a sinus infection to having full-blown cancer. The following are the most common pre-existing conditions in America:

  • Behavioral Health Disorders
  • Lung Disease
  • High Cholesterol
  • Asthma
  • Joint Disorders
  • High Blood Pressure

How Do Pre-Existing Conditions Affect Healthcare Coverage?

Many health insurance companies consider pre-existing conditions to be high-risk factors when determining eligibility for a health insurance policy. Many healthcare policies have been up for debate that carry different terms for Americans with pre-existing health conditions.

On one side of the debate is the proposition against denying coverage or increasing rates for Americans with pre-existing conditions. Those who believe pre-existing conditions need to remain covered feel it is important that everybody receive health coverage regardless of their health concerns. This has others concerned, because taxes may have to be raised to cover the high insurance costs for people with pre-existing conditions. Many Americans without pre-existing conditions feel they should not be penalized for medical coverage requirements that do not apply to their individual healthcare needs.

The alternative proposition supports raising coverage rates or denying healthcare coverage altogether for people with pre-existing conditions. The proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA) permits states to waive the Obamacare provision that prohibits insurers from charging patients with pre-existing conditions higher rates. Another AHCA provision would raise rates for people that have had a gap in their coverage for a consecutive 63 days. 6.3 million Americans with the targeted coverage gaps have pre-existing conditions.

Americans in support of this type of plan feel that people with pre-existing conditions should be held responsible for their health issues and that this type of healthcare plan would increase government funds available for investment into other important endeavors. People that oppose the AHCA feel it will negatively affect a large portion of the population and leave them fighting for the coverage they need.

An amendment to the AHCA proposes to categorize Americans with health problems prior to the activation of their healthcare plan as high risk. Insurance companies require high-risk patients to pay higher prices. People with pre-existing conditions feel if they are labeled high risk, it will become nearly impossible to qualify for affordable healthcare plans.

America Needs to Fight for Proper Healthcare

On either end of the healthcare debate, Americans fear that they will be wrongfully penalized. People with pre-existing conditions do not want to be penalized for having health requirements, often as simple as a pregnancy, that require more intensive medical coverage. People without pre-existing conditions do not wish to be penalized through taxes just so the country can afford to provide affordable coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions.

Policy changes could have challenging implications for Americans with pre-existing conditions. Although some are proposing to raise insurance rates in place of denying insurance coverage, many people feel that overpriced healthcare is an equally limiting penalty.

Whether you have a pre-existing condition, proper healthcare is a crucial factor in the success of the American people. It is time to fight for the healthcare America deserves, so we won’t have to worry about fighting for our health.

For more information about the healthcare reform debate, visit our article “Donald Trump Releases Healthcare Reform Plan.”

Scrubs Editor
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