“Unless you’re Bill Gates you’re just one serious illness away from bankruptcy. Most of the medically bankrupt were average Americans who happened to get sick”
Dr David Himmelstein lead author, Harvard study about medical bills and bankruptcy.
Health insurance like other insurance is designed to prevent financial ruin. However, it serves the function in a more intimate manner. Property insurance such as automobile and home owners’ policies protect you from financial loss due to damage caused by or inflicted upon your property. Health insurance protects you from financial loss due to damage to your health, wherein lies your physical, mental, and emotional ability to survive. Health insurance protects your most valuable asset: you.
Nevertheless, many people do not have health insurance. An estimated 47 million Americans were uninsured the entire calendar year of 2007. U.S. Census CPS The awe inspiring total of 89.6 million Americans were without health coverage at some time between January 1st 2006 and December 31st 2007. Among this number, 71% were employed full time. http://familiesusa.org/assets/pdfs/wrong-direction.pdf
The glut of uninsured Americans is daunting when one considers the effects of lacking coverage. Overwhelming medical bills have caused more than one half of all bankruptcies. Harvard study about medical bills and bankruptcywww.medicalnews.net
Among the uninsured,one out of five report poor health as compared to one out of nine
of the insured population. RWJ Foundation University of Minnesota Therefore it is not surprising that the uninsured are three times more likely to die in the hospital. http://familiesusa.org/assets/pdfs/wrong-direction.pdf
Many employed Americans remain without health coverage despite the risk. Health insurance typically is not mandatory unlike homeowners and auto policies. Cost is the main factor. Premiums have escalated by a cumulative 72% increase since 2001. Wages have only increased by a cumulative 21.9% in the same period. Kaiser Family Foundation’s Employer Health Benefits Annual Survey 2007 (see http://www.kff.org/) The average premium for family coverage is $273 per month id which adds up to a yearly total of $3276. This amount would cause an employee who is paid Louisiana’s median annual income, $34,060, to pay 96 cents out of every $10 gross income for his family’s health coverage. see http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcst.htm These figures might also explain why 23% of employed adults in Louisiana are uninsured. RWJ Foundation University of Minnesota
Employment trends do not bode well for the future. The numbers of employers who offer health insurance has dipped from 68% to 60% in recent years. Kaiser Family Foundation’s Employer Health Benefits Annual Survey 2007 (see http://www.kff.org/) Individual coverage has proven too expensive or inadequate to meet employees needs. Given that 99% of employers with two hundred or more employees offer health coverage and 60% of the uninsured are self employed or work for businesses that employ less than one hundred people, the answer lies in numbers. A solution that allows small business and self employed to pool resources and reach the ideal two hundred member insured pool is the best way. Currently, a bipartisan coalition in congress is working on that very solution. see http://durbin.senate.gov/ The best way to defray health insurance cost is economies of scale. Two hundred heads are cheaper than one.