Thursday, September 28, 2006
Tachy pulse, respirations shallow, blood pressure falling: The state of health insurace.
Excerpts from the Democratic Policy Committee
September 27, 2006
American families continue to struggle to find affordable health coverage. Yesterday, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust released their annual survey of employer health benefits ...
Average annual premiums for family coverage have escalated to $11,480, an increase of 81 percent since 2000, when family premiums were $6,348.
Average annual premiums for single coverage have escalated to $4,242, an increase of 75 percent since 2000, when family [single?] premiums were $2,424.
The number of uninsured Americans rose to 46.6 million in 2005, an increase of almost seven million since 2000. (U.S. Census Bureau, August 2006) Lack of health insurance has serious health consequences: the uninsured are more likely to forego needed care, receive fewer preventive services, not receive appropriate care to manage chronic disease, obtain substandard care when admitted to a hospital, and are more likely to die prematurely. (Institute of Medicine, May 2002)
On top of the 46.6 million uninsured Americans, about 16 million people are underinsured, which means their health coverage does not adequately protect them from catastrophic health care expenses. Underinsured Americans are almost as likely as the uninsured to not receive needed medical care. (Schoen et al., Health Affairs, June 14, 2005)
In addition to impeding access to care, rising health costs increase the chances that patients will receive large medical bills they simply cannot pay. Medical reasons – such as illness or injury or large uncovered medical bills – contribute to about 46 percent of personal bankruptcy filings. (Himmelstein et al., Health Affairs, February 2, 2005)
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