According to the Government Accountability Office, between 36 and 122 million people from 19 to 64 years of age reported having some type of medical condition that could result in being denied health insurance protection in 2009. That's between 20 and 66 percent of the adult U.S. population.
The GAO report also looked at the most common types of pre-existing conditions, finding that hypertension was the most widespread, affecting over 33 million people, with the average expenditure per treatment being $650. Mental health disorders were the second most common, followed by diabetes.
While the report did not offer any suggestions or conclusions, Jim Esquea, assistant secretary for legislation with the Department of Health and Human Services, noted that 2014 can't come soon enough based on the study's findings.
"We look forward to 2014, when insurance companies will no longer be able to limit or deny benefits for any individual seeking coverage," said Esquea.
A provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which forbids insurers from turning down insurance customers based on pre-existing conditions, is scheduled to go into effect in 2014.