Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Uninsured - Everyones Concern

It's election time (the longest election in history)! Today's post will be a primer in who are the Uninsured in America that we hear so much about.

  • 45 Million people under age 65 lacked health insurance. (Over age 65, Medicare kicks in and Medicare is government sponsored. If you are a billionaire, you get Medicare too)
  • Eight out of 10 (8/10) came from working families and 70% worked FULL TIME.
  • 59% have gone without health coverage for 2 years or more.
  • Minorities ( translate: "lower income") make up the uninsured. (1/3 Hispanic, 1/4 Native American, 21% African American, 18% Asian American, 13% white).
  • 79% of the uninsured are American Citizens.
  • Having insurance improves health overall and could reduce mortality for uninsured by 10-15%.
I'm sure most American readers of EverythingHealth have health insurance of some type and wonder why 45 million don't? Are they lazy? Are they irresponsible?

61% of Americans get their health insurance from their employers and that has been eroding steadily throughout this decade. Employer sponsored health insurance is sensitive to changes in health insurance premiums and we have had double digit healthcare inflation since 2001. Employer sponsored health insurance is voluntary and fewer employers are offering health insurance as a benefit. Low paying jobs (which has been the job boon of this decade) do not usually pay health insurance. Over 80% of the uninsured are in blue collar jobs where the wages are low.

If you don't get your insurance through your job you pay huge rates and if you have any chronic health condition, no one will insure you. Only 5% of Americans purchase their own insurance.

Those are the facts! Future posts will explore solutions and compare what the candidates are proposing for Health Care in America.


Just a Guy said...

More than 190,000 children in TX could qualify for SCHIP, and 660,000 for medicaid, but parents have not enrolled them.

Meanwhile, Texas sends out letters to 4 million drivers that are uninsured.

See something wrong with that?

When I hear about the candidates plans, I don't really care about their plans. The states end up having the ultimate say.

If you care about insuring the uninsured, elect a good insurance commissioner in your state.

Toni Brayer MD said...

To just a guy:
Thanks for your thoughtful comments but I think you are mixing apples and oranges. The federal poverty level for a family of 4 is $20,650. AT 150% of that level ($30,975)Texas will cover children under SCHIP. Most of the uninsured do not qualify for either SCHIP or Medicaid.

The State insurance commissioner regulates insurance companies. There are no regulations that govern underwriting or premiums. I'm not sure what a state insurance commissioner could do about the uninsured.

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