Document Type


Publication Date



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Political Science


West Virginians disproportionately suffer from higher rates of illness, disease and disability. As a result, West Virginians also have some of the nation’s highest rates of pre-existing conditions. These are health conditions which were diagnosed or treated by a provider prior to the purchase of insurance. They are also those conditions undiagnosed by a physician for which a “prudent” person would have sought care.

Until the Affordable Care Act (ACA) established a series of consumer protections,1 individuals affected by pre-existing conditions were generally unable to purchase insurance on their own. However, recently these protections have come under threat by Congressional and legal action.

This brief seeks to assess how West Virginians would be affected if these efforts are successful by providing estimates for the number of West Virginians affected by pre-existing conditions. Overall, it finds that 720,000 non-elderly West Virginians suffer from pre-existing conditions that would make it hard if not impossible to obtain health insurance subject to medical underwriting.



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