Study Says Uninsured Are Costly for All


 
 

Erica Werner | | Thursday, May 28, 2009


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The average family with health insurance shells out an extra $1,000 a year in premiums to pay for health care for the uninsured, a new report finds.

And the average individual with private coverage pays an extra $370 a year because of the cost-shifting, which happens when someone without medical insurance gets care at an emergency room or elsewhere and then doesn't pay.

The report was being released Thursday by advocacy group Families USA, which said the findings _ which it calls a "hidden tax" _ support its goal of extending coverage to all the 50 million Americans who are now uninsured. Congress and the Obama administration are working on a plan to do that.

Families USA contracted with independent actuarial consulting firm Milliman Inc. to analyze federal data to produce the findings.

"As more people join the ranks of the uninsured, the hidden health tax is growing," said Ron Pollack, Families USA executive director. "That tax hits America's businesses and insured families hard in the pocketbook, and they therefore have a clear financial stake in expanding health care coverage."

The report found that, in 2008, uninsured people received $116 billion in health care from hospitals, doctors and other providers. The uninsured paid 37 percent of that amount out of their own pockets, and government programs and charities covered another 26 percent.

That left about $43 billion unpaid, and that sum made its way into premiums charged by private insurance companies to businesses and individuals, the report said.

The major government insurance programs _ Medicare for the elderly and Medicaid for the poor _ are structured in a way that doesn't easily allow payments to insurers to adjust upward. And somebody has to pay.

Ronald A. Williams, chairman and chief executive of Aetna Inc., gave the example of a local community hospital that provides care to someone without insurance who arrives at the emergency room. When it's not paid for, the hospital has to raise its rates to insurance companies, and they pass that on in higher premiums, Williams said.

"Our members then say, 'Well, why is health insurance so expensive?'" Williams said in an interview. "And the answer is because you're paying for your own care as well as for the care of some of the uninsured in the community."

Aetna was not involved in writing or funding the report but Williams planned to appear at a news conference Thursday with Families USA officials to release its findings.

___

On the Net:http://www.familiesusa.org/




Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Operations and Protcols

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

The Evolution of Civilian High Threat Medical Guidelines

How mass killing events have proven a need for new guidelines.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Authorities Investigate Firefighters at Arizona EMS Call

Confrontation caught on video involving Glendale firefighters.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Radio Problems for New York Medics

Medic’s radio failed during a call with an armed patient.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

AMR Prepares Ambulance for Ebola Patient

Patient preparedness in Oregon.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Oregon Department Revises EMS System

Bend brings in EMTs to meet growing demands.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Ottawa Shooting Incident

Solider is shot by gunman at national memorial in Ottawa.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Life Link III Trauma Tactics Conference in Minnesota

Conference was designed to enhance the skills of providers of all levels, covering rescue and prehospital situations, to transport and in-hospital treatment.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >