Report: More than 1.2 Million Minnesotans with Pre-Existing Conditions Gain Needed Protection from Insurance Denials under Health Care Law
This is the key finding of a report issued today by the consumer health group Families USA. According to the report, the number of people receiving these new protections includes 263,700 people in Hennepin County, 111,700 people in Ramsey County, 91,100 people in Dakota County, and 77,900 people in Anoka County.
Under the Affordable Care Act, all of these Minnesotans can no longer be denied coverage, charged a higher premium, or sold a policy that excludes coverage of important health services simply because of a pre-existing condition. These protections begin in January 2014, but children with pre-existing conditions are already protected against coverage denials through the new law.
The likelihood that Minnesotans have pre-existing conditions grows as they age: more than one in five (21.2 percent of) people aged 18-24 have a pre-existing condition; more than a third (33.6 percent of) of 35-44 year-olds have such a condition; as do half (50 percent) of those aged 55-64.
"More than 1.2 million Minnesotans will now have the peace of mind and security they want for themselves and their families because they can no longer be denied coverage by an insurance company just because their doctor diagnosed a health problem," Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA, said today.
"Teachers, policemen, firefighters, businessmen,laborers, and professionals in all walks of life have for decades faced the threat of physical and financial devastation because they could not buy a health insurance policy due to their pre-existing conditions," Pollack said. "The Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, stops this discrimination and opens the door to quality coverage for all Minnesotans."
The report details the health and financial risks that people face when they can’t obtain health coverage: They delay or forgo care due to cost, and they are less likely to get preventive care and cancer screenings. They are also less likely to have a usual source of care outside of an emergency room. And, because medical debt is strongly linked to bankruptcy, uninsured Americans are more likely to suffer financial catastrophe because of medical bills.
According to Families USA, the numbers in the report are conservative for two reasons. First, the analysis looks only at people with diagnosed conditions that are most likely to result in a denial of coverage; many other conditions could also lead to a denial of coverage or a discriminatory premium. Second, many more Minnesotans likely have similar health conditions, but they have not yet been diagnosed because they are uninsured and haven't seen a doctor.