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Almost One in Four Non-Elderly North Carolinians Has a Diagnosed Pre-Existing Condition

Families USA released a report Thursday that further underscores the importance of the new health reform law.

According to the group’s latest analysis, approximately 1.8 million North Carolinians have a diagnosed pre-existing condition that could lead to the denial of coverage in the individual health insurance market.

The report shows that while individuals of all age groups, income levels and ethnicity in North Carolina have pre-existing conditions, this is a problem that grows with age:

  • More than one in six (17.1 percent of) young adults aged 18 to 24 has a diagnosed pre-existing condition that could lead to a denial of coverage.
  • More than one-third (36.7 percent) of adults aged 45 to 54 have a diagnosed pre-existing condition that could lead to a denial of coverage.
  • In the 55 to 64 age group, the portion of adults with diagnosed pre-existing conditions climbs to nearly half (47.3 percent).

The health reform law, signed by President Obama in March, prohibits denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions. The measure also stipulates that insurers cannot charge discriminatory premiums based on health status, nor deny benefits that would treat the health conditions.

The Families USA report relied on data from the federal Medical Expenditures Panel Survey and demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey.

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