Currently, 1 in 5 Americans is at risk of being denied access to health care coverage due to pre-existing conditions according to the new Worry No More: Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions Are Protected by the Health Care Law based on Families USA May 2010 report, Health Reform: Help for Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions. The study finds that there are roughly 57.2 million Americans under the age of 65 who could be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. The report emphasizes that these numbers cut across all racial and ethnic groups – everyone is affected by health care.
With the passing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), adults can no longer be denied access to health care coverage due to a pre-existing condition starting in 2014. The ACA already stipulates that children cannot be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions. This is a huge opportunity to extend coverage to millions of Americans in need of health care, but who have been denied by insurance companies.
For Michigan, this means that roughly 2.4 million Michiganders would be able to access coverage. According to the Families USA Michigan report, there are 2,056,000 or almost 25% of all Michiganders under 65 with pre-existing conditions. The largest age group affected are those aged 55-64. Don Hazaert, director of Michigan Consumers for Healthcare is quoted as saying,
“[…] we’re talking about people who have pre-existing conditions that could potentially be denied coverage if health care reform, the Affordable Care Act, were to actually be repealed” (source)
The repeal of the Affordable Care Act would disenfranchise a large segment of our population where pre-existing conditions only get worse with age. Allowing these individuals greater access to health care coverage could extend their lives as well as reduce the burden on our health care system.
“They won’t have to go without the care that they need, they won’t have to struggle to pay for essentially health care services or worry that their next illness could bankrupt them,” said Phillip Bergquist, manager of health center operations for Michigan Primary Care Association. (source)
Michigan has a large population of individuals with pre-existing conditions that could see greater access to health care under the ACA. This is a critical moment to be able to ensure that all citizens of Michigan are getting the care that they need.