Millions of Pennsylvanians have a pre-existing condition

    The new federal health law bans insurers from denying people coverage based on their medical problems. WHYY reports on new research that counts up the number of Pennsylvanians who could be helped by the provision.

    The new federal health law bans insurers from denying people coverage based on their medical problems. WHYY reports on new research that counts up the number of Pennsylvanians who could be helped by the provision.

    In the Commonwealth, 2.3 million residents — who are too young for Medicare — have a diagnosed health problem such as cancer or diabetes.

    When you try to purchase health insurance in the individual market having a pre-existing condition increases the risk that a health insurance company will reject you.

    The new report is from Families U.S.A. Executive Director Ron Pollack says the health law allows people to rely less on job-based coverage.

    Pollack: They won’t be in job lock they can start a new business, or if something happens and they lose their job and they have to ultimately resort to the individual market, they won’t be excluded.

    Not all of the 2.3 million Pennsylvanians with pre-existing conditions are locked out of the health system now; Pollack says many have coverage through work. But, he says until the health law kicks-in all are at risk.

    For children with pre-existing conditions the change begins later this year, adults must wait until 2014.

    Confusion persists, so supporters of the health overhaul say they’re continuing the campaign to point out the benefits of the new law.

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