GAO report: Millions of adults have pre-existing conditions
Between 36 million and 122 million adults—representing a range between 20% and 66% of the U.S. adult population—reported having medical conditions that could result in health insurance coverage restrictions, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office. Hypertension, mentalhealth disorders and diabetes are the most commonly found medical conditions among adults that could lead to a health insurer denying coverage, the GAO concluded. Hypertension was the leading condition that could result in an insurer denying coverage, and GAO analysts found that about 33.2 million adults between the ages of 19 and 64, or about 18%, reported having hypertension in 2009. Those individuals reported average annual expenditures to treat the condition of about $650, although maximum reported expenditures were calculated to be about $61,540. Cancer had the highest annual treatment expenditures at about $9,000. Starting in 2014, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act won’t allow insurers in the individual market to deny coverage, increase premiums or restrict benefits because of a pre-existing condition. “Compared to others, adults with pre-existing conditions spend thousands of dollars more annually on healthcare, but pre-existing conditions are common across all family income levels,” the report noted.