Before the Affordable Care Act, one of every two Americans--129 million men, women, and children--were at risk of being denied coverage by insurance companies due to a pre-existing health condition or life-threatening illness such as cancer and heart disease.
Pediatric healthcare worker Denise Ybarra's daughter was one of those 129 million:
"As a mother, I sensed something was wrong.
"My daughter Dezeray was sick and they thought it was a virus at first. We came back and I insisted that they do some blood work. It turned out that she was very, very seriously ill--she was diagnosed with T-cell leukemia and pretty much ended up staying in the hospital for six months.
"That was in 2002. Now, she is 16 years old and doing really well.
"When my husband lost his job we were very worried about getting insurance that would cover Dezeray. But because of the new healthcare law, she was fully covered when we got our new plan. And I won't have to worry about her being denied health insurance as an adult because of her previous medical condition."
Since September 23, 2010, children living with pre-existing health conditions can no longer be denied benefits or coverage by insurance companies, or even be limited in their treatment for a pre-existing condition.
The Ybarra family now has the peace of mind that comes with knowing that their daughter Dezeray - a cancer survivor - can be covered under her family's insurance until she's 26. And as of 2014, every American living with a pre-existing health condition--both children and adults--will be protected by the law.
Did you know....?
- Before the law, insurance companies routinely denied care because of "pre-existing conditions" such as pregnancy, depression, high blood pressure, glaucoma and attention-deficit disorder.
- Most Americans between ages 55 and 64 have a pre-existing condition, according to insurance companies.
- 25 million Americans are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition.
- As many as 82 million Americans with employer-based health plans have a pre-existing condition.
For more information about how the law is helping millions of Americans, visit our healthcare resource hub on SEIU.org at