||August 13, 2012
Dave Lemmon, Director of Communications
Bob Meissner, Deputy Director of Communications
Bryan Fisher, Press Secretary
Report: Nearly 616,000 Arkansans with Pre-Existing Conditions Gain Needed Protection from Insurance Denials under Health Care Law
Included are 80,600 people in Pulaski County; 61,200 people in counties near Little Rock; 43,900 people in Benton County; and 41,900 people in Washington County
As Arkansans Age, the Likelihood They Will Need These New Protections Grows Substantially
Washington, D.C.—The Supreme Court’s upholding of the Affordable Care Act will provide significant new protections for a huge number of Arkansans, including nearly 616,000 non-elderly people in the state who have pre-existing conditions and who were at risk of insurance company denials. These Arkansans constitute more than one in four (26.0 percent of) non-elderly people in the state.
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 80,600 people in Pulaski County, 61,200 people in counties near Little Rock (Faulkner, Lonoke, and Saline Counties), 43,900 people in Benton County, and 41,900 people in Washington County.
Under the Affordable Care Act, all of these Arkansans 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 Arkansans have pre-existing conditions grows as they age: more than one in five (20.6 percent of) people aged 18-24 have a pre-existing condition,nearly one third (32.8 percent) of 35- to 44-year-olds have such a condition, as do nearly half (49.6 percent) of those aged 55-64.
“Nearly 616,000 Arkansans 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 Arkansans.”
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 Arkansans likely have similar health conditions, but they have not yet been diagnosed becausethey are uninsured and haven’t seen a doctor.
Families USA is the national organization for health care consumers. It is nonprofit and nonpartisan and advocates for high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans.
1201 New York Avenue NW, Suite 1100 · Washington, DC 20005
202-628-3030 · Email: firstname.lastname@example.org · www.familiesusa.org