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Health News Florida
Healthy State tells the stories you need to know to stay well, with a special focus on Florida.We'll bring you the latest fitness trends, new research on preventing and treating disease, and information about how health policy impacts your pocketbook.We report on health using all the tools at our disposal -- video, audio, photos and text -- to bring these stories to life.Healthy State is a project of WUSF Public Media in Tampa and is heard on public radio stations throughout Florida. It also is available online at wusfnews.org.

Report Reveals Number of Floridians with Pre-existing Conditions Protected by ACA

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Diabetes, heart disease, and even hypertension -- just three of dozens of pre-existing conditions insurance companies have historically used as reasons to deny health care coverage.

That is, until the Affordable Care Act was upheld by the Supreme Court. 

Families USA released a report showing that  3.8 million non-elderly Floridians are no longer at risk for denial because of the law.

Under the Affordable Care Act, people 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 through the new law against coverage denials.

The number of Floridians comes from a large survey of doctors and also patients diagnosed with pre-existing conditions. It's thought to be a conservative for several reasons.

First, the analysis only looks 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, more Floridians likely have similar health conditions, but they have not yet been diagnosed because they are uninsured and didn’t see a doctor.


Ron Pollack is the executive director of Families USA. He says before the Affordable Care Act, even those with health insurance and a pre-existing condition were at risk for losing coverage.

"The point we're making is not that this large number of Floridians, over 3.8 million Floridians, do not have insurance," he says.

"What we are saying is that they are at risk -- if they want to start of business, if they get laid off from a job. Those who may have health coverage today, but have a pre-existing health condition.  Their pre-existing condition put them in a no coverage zone."

The report says there are almost 255- thousand people in Hillsborough County with pre-existing conditions.