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Report Finds an Alarming Number of Chronically Ill Patients - Over 93 Percent - Reporting Medical Debt Crisis Issues in 2008 Have Some Form of Insurance
Date:4/29/2009

New trend findings of "underinsured" patients based on successful resolution of more than 48,000 cases by national, non-profit Patient Advocate Foundation in 2008

NEWPORT NEWS, Va., April 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) - a national non-profit organization that seeks to safeguard patients through effective mediation assuring access to care, maintenance of employment and preservation of their financial stability relative to their diagnosis of life threatening or debilitating diseases - today released their annual Patient Data Analysis Report (PDAR), which includes detailed analysis of general and specific healthcare access and insurance trends at the national and state-specific level. Regarded as a thorough and reliable resource by policymakers, healthcare providers, stakeholders and other members of the healthcare community, this expert data analysis offers a comprehensive summary of issues impacting Americans' access to healthcare.

PAF is on the frontlines of the healthcare access battle millions of Americans fight every day. Last year alone, PAF received in excess of 9.5 million contacts from patients, family members and care professionals requesting information and assistance. PAF's professional senior patient navigators successfully managed 48,369 cases for patients that required direct, sustained mediation and arbitration services. Globally, more than sixty percent of all patients who contacted PAF in 2008 reported debt crisis issues as their primary concern. Ninety-three percent of these patients were insured through plans, but were still unable to obtain physician-prescribed healthcare despite coverage, reflecting an alarming trend of medical debt crisis issues in the nation's healthcare system. Nearly eighty percent of PAF patients are cancer patients. The remaining twenty percent have chronic diseases including diabetes, COPD, hepatitis, asthma and osteoporosis.

"Each year, PAF is able to help more Americans gain access to the healthcare services they need, but we continue to see thousands of patients and family members struggle with rejected insurance claims, citing denials based on pre-existing conditions. In 2008, we have seen a dramatic increase in job loss and unemployment, as well as a shifting of cost burdens such as accelerated co-payments to the patient, creating significant access issues for patients nationwide," said Nancy Davenport-Ennis, founder, president and CEO of PAF. "These challenges, in combination with caps on services, pharmaceutical products and medical devices and reduced annual benefit caps, pose serious risks for patients that can lead to life-or-death delays in treatment."

PAF collects data from each patient case received throughout the year from PAF's professional senior patient navigators. In addition to providing analysis of national healthcare trends, the PDAR highlights PAF's 13-year history in resolving complex health insurance issues, such as benefit denials and appeals. Originally published in 1997, this data has been increasingly requested by lawmakers, MedPAC, congressional offices, academics and advocacy organizations. Since its inception in 1996, PAF has touched more than 30 million American lives.

"PAF proudly publishes the annual PDAR to provide an up-to-date snapshot of healthcare in America including vital healthcare and insurance trends that we hope can serve as a reference for healthcare policymakers and other stakeholders as they work to address the global healthcare crisis America now faces and reform the nation's healthcare system," added Davenport-Ennis.

For more information about Patient Advocate Foundation or to request a copy of the 2008 PDAR, please visit www.patientadvocate.org or call toll free (800) 532-5274.

Patient Advocate Foundation is a national non-profit organization that seeks to safeguard patients through effective mediation assuring access to care, maintenance of employment and preservation of their financial stability.


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SOURCE Patient Advocate Foundation
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