GAO: 112M U.S. adults may have pre-existing conditions

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) in a recent report estimates that 36 million to 112 million U.S. adults have pre-existing conditions—such as diabetes, hypertension and mental health disorders—that could lead insurers to deny coverage.

The report did not specify how many of those individuals currently are uninsured.

America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) downplayed the report's findings and suggested that the number of individuals with pre-existing conditions who are currently uninsured is low. According to AHIP, most adults have employer-based health coverage, which is offered regardless of pre-existing conditions.

The GAO notes that the Affordable Care Act will protect U.S. residents with pre-existing conditions, given a provision—slated to take effect in 2014—that insurers cannot deny coverage or charge higher premiums to individuals with pre-existing conditions (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 4/26).

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