More than 2 million North Carolinians have pre-existing conditions according to a new Families USA report

As we have traveled around the state for the last several years discussing health reform, again and again we hear from people frightened of losing their insurance coverage. The problem is that many of these folks have been diagnosed with a medical condition that brands them as uninsurable for life. In 2014 that worry will go away.

Currently, if you are diagnosed with a medical condition and seek insurance coverage you can be turned away or charged thousands of dollars per month for a policy. Health reform put some immediate changes in place as stop gaps for people with these so called pre-existing conditions. New money expanded our state’s high risk pool, called Inclusive Health, which gives people with pre-existing conditions a new coverage option. Young people can now stay on a parent’s insurance plan until age 26. This helps bridge potential gaps in coverage. For someone with a pre-existing condition such a gap can prove financially catastrophic. Children can no longer be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition. And, starting in 2014, insurers will not be allowed to charge more or deny coverage due to a previous medical diagnosis.

Who will this help? Families took a close look and determined that more than 2 million North Carolinians will get a new sense of security from reform. Nearly one-in-four people in almost every county have been diagnosed with a pre-existing condition. In Wake County, 186,800 people have faced such a diagnosis. In Mecklenburg it’s 190,700. In Robeson County more than 30 percent of the population lives with a pre-existing condition.

These numbers are conservative. This report only shows people diagnosed with or treated for a specific set of medical conditions in 2009. That means the uninsured or those with problems accessing the health care system are undercounted. But this report does show the dramatic scope of the problem in our state. And it shows the tremendous relief health reform will bring to millions of families when it is fully implemented in 2014.

2 Comments

  1. Jeff S

    July 26, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    This is the worst of both worlds compromise.

    We’re now required to provide profit to the insurance companies, AND subsidize the sick.

    If you want to socialize healthcare I’m fine with that. But go all the way. There’s absolutely no reason to allow the insurance companies to take their cut. Unless the millions they’ve spent buying off legislators constitutes a valid reason.

    My healthcare costs over the last decade have been $0 – so every cent of my mandated insurance will be profit for one of the most manipulative and anti-health industries around. Why so many equate health insurance with health care is beyond me. They’re polar opposites.

  2. Adam Linker

    July 26, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    If you had a single-payer system, or most any other system, you would still subsidize the sick. We currently subsidize the sick. You can’t get around that part.

    I can’t tell if you don’t like the way insurance works or if you just don’t think it has a place in health care. Anytime you pay for insurance and have no claims that is helping to fund the insurance company. The point is that you might have a $1 million bill next week if you are hit by a car and spend many days in ICU using expensive drugs.

    Maybe private insurance will not be involved in the health care system one day. But right now they are, so we should better regulate them, as is required by the ACA.