Raising Women’s Voices

One-Fifth of U.S. Adults Underinsured in 2007

Posted in Affordability, Health Disparities, Insurance companies by raisingwomensvoices on April 20, 2009

 

“Consumers facing increased medical expenses are likely to report decreasing their contributions to retirement savings plans (29 percent), taking on credit card debt (22 percent), and experiencing difficulty paying for basic necessities like food, heat and housing (27 percent) as a result of their medical costs” according to Community Catalyst’s report, When Coverage Fails: Causes and Remedies for Inadequate Health Insurance

The report discusses the ramifications of being under-insured, such as poor health and financial difficulties.  According to the report, 50% of bankruptcies in 2007 were the result of medical debt.  That same year, 25 million were under-insured–a 60% increase from 2003–meaning their insurance was not comprehensive, forcing them to forgo or delay medical treatments, preventative tests and doctor visits.   The report concluded that the federal government could help alleviate the situation by setting standards for coverage and limiting deductibles. 

There are many ways in which the term under-insured is used.  How does Community Catalyst define ‘underinsured’?  By analyzing the income of those with insurance and the out-of-pocket costs of health care they pay, and determining when those costs become too great of a barrier to overcome.  The Commonwealth Fund classifies individuals as under-insured when more than 10% of their income (which is 200% below the federal poverty level) on out-of-pocket health expenses, or whose deductible consumed 5% of their income.  The report found that families paid the highest deductibles, and those purchasing their insurance on their own (not through their employer) are more likely to be under-insured.

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One Response

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  1. jimmy1920 said, on April 20, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    It is really tragic that this is allowed to persist. It speaks volumes about what we in America truly believe about equality. We believe that everyone should have access to clean air and water, why not health care?
    Why is health care perceived as some sort of consumer good that needs to be purchased in a “free market.”?
    Help me understand this.


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