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The average cost of employer-sponsored premiums is now close to $13,100 a year for just one family of four and employees contribute roughly 27 percent, on average, toward the premium.
The average annual premium for employer-sponsored family health coverage has risen to four times the rate of inflation and increases in wages over the last decade – average employer premiums have increased 119 percent, while inflation increased only 29 percent and wage earnings increased 34 percent.
Employees have seen their share of job-based coverage increase at nearly the same rate as employers during the last decade – jumping from $1,543 to $3,354.
Nearly two-thirds of all bankruptcies filed in 2007 were linked to medical expenses. Of those who filed for bankruptcy, nearly 80 percent had health insurance coverage.
In 2008, about 57 million Americans were in families that had problems paying medical bills, and nearly three-quarters had health insurance coverage.
Manufacturing firms in the U.S. pay more than twice as much in hourly health insurance costs versus their major trading partners – $2.38 per worker per hour versus $.96.
Excess spending on health care primarily due to administrative costs for health insurance and additional outpatient services considered wasteful, added $650 billion to the nation’s health care bill in 2008 – or almost 25 percent of all national health care expenditures.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 46 million Americans, or 18 percent of the population under the age of 65, were without health insurance in 2007, the latest Census data available.
The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality estimated that nearly 54 million Americans under the age of 65 were uninsured in the first-half of 2007.
Nearly 7 million more Americans have lost and will lose their coverage between 2008 and 2010 due to rising health insurance costs. Millions more lost their coverage due to the economic downturn.
Nearly 90 million people – about one-third of the population below the age of 65 – spent a portion of either 2007 or 2008 without health insurance. Most had episodes of at least nine months or longer without coverage.
Over 8 in 10 uninsured people come from working families – almost 70 percent reside in families with one or more full-time workers.
Young adults are disproportionately represented among people who lack health insurance, accounting for nearly 30 percent of the 46 million uninsured people under age 65, even though they comprise just 15 percent of the population.
The number of uninsured children in 2007 was 8.1 million – or 10.7 percent of all children.
The average annual increase in inflation has been 2.5 percent this decade while health insurance premiums for small firms have escalated an average of 12 percent annually.
Based on recent studies, it is estimated that the number of excess deaths among uninsured adults age 25 to 64 is in the range of 22,000 a year.
The uninsured are 9 to 10 times more likely to forgo medical care because of cost and twice as likely to have medical debt.
Uninsured cancer patients are 1.6 times more likely than insured patients to die within five years of diagnosis.
Uninsured Americans get about half the medical care of those with health insurance.
The cost of reduced productivity attributable to uninsurance could be as high as $248 billion in 2009.
Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults, or an estimated 116 million people annually, struggle to pay medical bills, go without needed care because of cost, are uninsured for a time, or are underinsured.
From Rx for Reform
NCHC Action Fund President and CEO, Ralph G. Neas, calls for an insurance policy for health care reform.
Noting that last spring, leaders of the health care industry, including representatives from PhARMA, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the American Medical Association and American Hospital Association, met with President Obama and pledged to him and the American people that they would decrease the annual rate of cost increases by 1.5 percentage points to save $2 trillion or more over the next decade. Neas said the commitment that industry leaders made to the President and the American public “should be more than a photo op, press statement and promise.” Citing Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus’ piece about legislative cost containment efforts and needing a fail-safe mechanism to ensure that the rate of health care inflation is slowed, Neas urged that industry pledges to the President and the American people to control the growth of national health expenditures be codified and made enforceable as part of health reform.
“Only enactment of a “failsafe” amendment will provide the American people with an insurance policy that health care reform will lower premiums and make quality care and coverage affordable for all,” he said.
The National Coalition on Health Care’s recommendations, based upon the consensus view of 85 member organizations, to make the system less complex, reduce overly high prices, and create a truly competitive health care marketplace. The goal of the paper is to augment the NCHC Principles and Specifications with a more detailed and selective set of policy recommendations on cost containment and quality improvement.
How much merit is there to 11th-hour insurance industry claims that the health reform bill scheduled for a vote in the Senate Finance Committee this week would raise insurance premiums? And how big a problem is it that the industry, which had generally been cooperative in the reform effort, is now lashing out? — Marilyn Werber Serafini, NationalJournal.com
From Facts & Research
Small Business Majority, an NCHC partner, and the Center for American Progress developed a report, SHOPping Around: Setting up Health Care Exchanges for Small Businesses: A Roadmap. The report provides state legislators with both the necessary information and toolkit for establishing competitive health insurance exchanges for small businesses.
To commemorate the one year anniversary of the passage of health reform legislation, Consumers Union developed a guide entitled The Affordable Care Act: The First Year. The guide outlines what the law means for consumers based on their current health insurance coverage, as well as details how the law pertains to owners and employees of small businesses.
Consumer Reports has developed a brief guide, Medicare: 6 Things You Need to Know Now, to educate consumers on how the Affordable Care Act has affected Medicare and benefits. The guide covers topics ranging from drug discounts to free preventive services.
- Delivery System Reforms
- Drug and Device Cost Containment
- Economic Impacts
- Faith-Based Initiatives
- Health IT
- Policy Implementation
- Prevention & Wellness
- Quality & Safety
- Simplified Administration
- Vulnerable Populations
- Workforce Reforms/ Human Capital
Almost four in ten (39 percent) uninsured adults age 55-64 did not see a doctor in the past year, compared to less than one in ten (9%) of those with private insurance.