Sam Falsetti, PhD of Cambridge Biomarketing discusses some recent health care trends, specifically focusing on possible changes to the Affordable Care Act and drug development as it affects the rare disease community.

Before private insurance market rules that were enforced in the ACA (in 2014), health insurance sold in the individual market in most states was medically underwritten. That means insurers evaluated the health status, health history, and other risk factors of applicants to determine whether and under what terms to issue coverage. To what extent people with pre-existing health conditions are protected is likely to be a central issue in the debate over repealing and replacing the ACA.

It is estimated that 27% of adult Americans under the age of 65 have health conditions that would likely leave them uninsurable if they applied for individual market coverage under pre-ACA underwriting practices that existed in nearly all states. While a large share of this group has coverage through an employer or public coverage where they do not face medical underwriting, these estimates quantify how many people could be ineligible for individual market insurance under pre-ACA practices if they were to ever lose this coverage.