Navigation Links
Insured but poorly protected: 25 million adults are underinsured
Date:6/9/2008

New York, NY, June 10th, 2008The number of underinsured adultsthose with health insurance all year, but also very high medical expenses relative to their incomesrose by 60 percent between 2003 and 2007, from 16 million to more than 25 million, according to a new Commonwealth Fund study released today as a Health Affairs Web Exclusive. Middle and higher income families were hit the hardest by the steep increase: underinsured rates nearly tripled for those with incomes above 200 percent of the federal poverty level, which is an annual income of $40,000 or higher for a family.

In "How Many Are Underinsured? Trends Among U.S. Adults, 2003 and 2007," Commonwealth Fund authors Cathy Schoen, Sara Collins, Jennifer Kriss and Michelle Doty use 2007 national survey data to provide a national estimate of the number of adults who are underinsured, updating a 2003 study. The analysis finds that 25.2 million insured adults ages 19-64 were underinsured based on their out-of-pocket health care costs relative to their incomes. Underinsured rates have now reached double-digit levels for families with incomes in the 200-400 percent of poverty range, solidly in the middle class.

"We are seeing the sharp increase in the underinsured because the insured are facing higher cost-shares and limits in insurance benefitspremiums are up but people are buying less protection," said lead author and Commonwealth Fund Senior Vice President Cathy Schoen. "Today you can have health insurance and still go bankrupt if you get sick. This puts individuals, families, and the nation's health and economic security at risk."

Including those who had any time without insurance during the year, the study estimates that more than two of five (42%) adults ages 19-64, or 75 million people, were either uninsured during the year or underinsured during the year as of 2007, up from one-third in 2003. The study identified the underinsured using medical cost exposure relative to income. The underinsured included those insured all year who spent 10 percent or more of their income on out-of-pocket medical expenses or 5 percent of income if low-income (under 200% of federal poverty level), or who had per person deductibles equal to 5 percent or more of family annual income.

Underinsured Experiences Often Mirror Those of Uninsured

The study found that despite the fact that the underinsured have health insurance all year long, they are at high risk of access problems and financial stresswith experiences often similar to the uninsured. Both underinsured and uninsured adults were significantly more likely to go without needed health care and to struggle with medical bills than people with adequate health insurance.

  • Half of the underinsured (53%) and two thirds of the uninsured (68%) went without needed care because of cost, including not seeing a doctor when sick, not filling prescriptions, and not getting recommended diagnostic tests or treatments. By contrast, only 31 percent of the insured report going without such care.
  • The underinsured were almost as likely as the uninsured to face financial stress related to medical bills. Nearly half (45%) of the underinsured reported difficulty paying bills, being contacted by collection agencies for unpaid bills or changing their way of life to pay their medical bills as did half of the uninsured (51%). By contrast only 21 percent of the insured reported financial stress related to medical bills.

Insurance Characteristics

Underinsured adults were more likely than adults with more adequate insurance to have insurance plans with limits on the amount a plan would pay or on visits. And, underinsured adults were much more likely to have high deductiblesone quarter had annual deductibles of $1,000 or more.

Despite these limited benefits, the underinsured faced premium levels that were similar to those paid by adults with more adequate health insurance. Premiums were often very high relative to incomes, adding to financial stress.

Policy Implications

The authors conclude that benefit designs that reduce cost-sharing for high-value, cost-effective care and lower cost-sharing for families with low and modest incomes will be necessary to achieve quality care and better health outcomes rather than just coverage.

"The United States needs to move in new directions," said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. "Middle and low income families are struggling through tough economic times and we need to extend affordable, effective health insurance to all. Shifting costs to patients is not an equitable or effective solution to rising costs. It's time for serious consideration of changes in the way we pay for and deliver health servicesreforms that show much greater potential for gains in quality and efficiency."


'/>"/>

Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Governor Rendell Offers adultBasic Coverage to 35,000 Uninsured Pennsylvanians
2. AUDIO from Medialink and Pfizer: Number of Uninsured Americans Grows to 47 Million
3. Regence Offers InterM to Fill Gap for the Uninsured
4. Patient Advocate Foundation Launches Program to Help Uninsured Virginians with Chronic, Debilitating and Life-Threatening Illness Access Quality Healthcare
5. Uninsured community health center patients often have difficulty accessing specialty services
6. Congress Poised to Add Millions of Uninsured Children to Successful, Bipartisan Health Plan
7. Catholic Health Association to Congress and President Bush: Uninsured Children Need Your Help Now
8. Free Prescription Drug Program Uses Internet to Deliver Cards - Offers Assistance to Uninsured
9. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Launches Effort in Five Michigan Cities with Department of Community Health to Enroll Uninsured Children in MIChild
10. DNC: Romney Chooses President Bush Over Uninsured Children
11. Op-Ed: Free Treatment for Breast Cancer Patients Who Are Uninsured
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Conventional wisdom preaches the ... In terms of the latter, setting the bar too high can result in disappointment, ... just slow progress toward their goal. , Research from PsychTests.com reveals ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those who have experienced traumatic events may ... to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. To ... for healthy coping following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel a ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of control. Prone to extreme ... “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. “If there was ... other children and say he was going to kill them. If we were driving ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A. ... The attorneys chosen by their peers for this recognition are considered among the top ... Shareholders received special honors as members of this year’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame: ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, ... and the Road To Recovery® program to drive cancer patients to and from their ... to ensure the highest quality of life and ongoing independence. Getting to and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  MedSource announced today that it has ... solution of choice.  This latest decision demonstrates MedSource,s ... their clients by offering a state-of-the-art electronic data ... nowEDC as the EDC platform of choice in ... "nowEDC has long been a preferred EDC platform ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... DUBLIN , June 23, 2016 ... the "Pharmaceutical Excipients Market by Type (Organic Chemical ... Preservative), Formulation (Oral, Topical, Coating, Parenteral) - Global Forecast ... The global pharmaceutical excipients ... 2021 at a CAGR of 6.1% in the forecast ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... Forecast to 2022" report to their offering. ... date financial data derived from varied research sources to present ... impact on the market during the next five years, including ... sub markets, regional and country level analysis. The report provides ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: