September Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: Pre-Existing Conditions

With several elements of the ACA targeted toward individuals with pre-existing conditions, this month’s Kaiser Health Tracking Poll takes a closer look at this group. Fifty-two percent of Americans say that they or someone else in their household has what would be considered a “pre-existing condition,” and among this group, one in five (21 percent) say they or their family member has had difficulty getting health insurance because of this condition. Yet many of these people are unaware that the health reform law offers new protections for them. For example, about four in ten are unaware that the law prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage because of a current or previous medical condition, and over half either think the law does not prohibit insurance companies from setting lifetime caps on benefits (35 percent) or do not know whether it does or not (19 percent).

Most Americans overall (52 percent) believe people with pre-existing conditions will be better off under the ACA; however, those who live in a household where someone has a pre-existing condition are somewhat less likely to think this group will benefit (44 percent say they’ll be better off) compared to those who say no one in their household has such a condition (60 percent).

Overall, Americans’ opinions of the health reform law remain divided this month, much as they have since the law was passed. In September, 41 percent say they have a favorable view of the law, while 43 percent have an unfavorable view. For more, check out the poll summary, chartpack, and full question wording and results.

Awareness of ACA Consumer Protection Provisions Among Those with Pre-existing Conditions

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