The Pre-existing Condition Consideration

Prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurance companies could charge higher premiums or deny coverage altogether based on an individual’s medical history or health status. The ACA included protections for those with pre-existing health conditions.

Pre-existing conditions differ from insurer to insurer, but they generally designate an individual with a health condition requiring medical treatment or someone who has a greater likelihood of illness and injury due to occupation or lifestyle.

Today, millions of Americans suffer from pre-existing conditions, and based on a recent review from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the most common of those are:

  • High Blood Pressure  :  46 million people
  • Behavioral Health Disorders  :  45 million people
  • High Cholesterol  :  44 million people
  • Asthma/Chronic Lung Disease  :  34 million people
  • Heart Conditions  :  16 million people
  • Diabetes  :  13 million people
  • Cancer  :  11 million people

Pregnancy is also considered a pre-existing condition.

This Kaiser Family Foundation review of pre-ACA medical underwriting also lists occupations ineligible for insurance.

Active military personnel Iron workers Professional athletes
Air traffic controller Law enforcement/detectives Sawmill operators
Aviation and air transportation Loggers Scuba divers
Blasters or explosive handlers Meat packers/processors Security guards
Bodyguards Mining Steel metal workers
Crop dusters Nuclear industry workers Steeplejacks
Firefighters/EMTs Offshore drillers/workers Strong man competitors
Hang gliding Oil and gas exploration and drilling Taxi cab drivers
Hazardous material handlers Pilots Window washers

It’s apparent that some of the individuals previously unable to obtain medical insurance due to pre-existing conditions were children, but how many?

Using a breakdown by the Center for American Progress that summarizes these numbers by age and state, we were able to determine how many children were affected on a state-by-state basis and which states had the highest percentages of children in the population with pre-existing conditions.

Pre-existing conditions

So, when you’re talking about residents of Utah (ranking #1) losing coverage for pre-existing conditions, around 18% of those impacted are kids. But even where the percentage is lowest in Vermont, the under-18 group still adds up to 11% of those that would be impacted.

A removal of these protections has nationwide impact for both adults and children. Of the 134 million individuals under age 65 that could lose coverage, 17.5 million (13%) are under 18.

Pre-existing Conditions - Children