Falling Through the Cracks
As the cost of health care continues to rise, more and more
Americans are living without
insurance-over 46 million in 2005, according to U.S. census
data. And, while most of us falsely believe the uninsured are also
unemployed, that is no longer the case.
Statistics show that the majority of uninsured Americans are
two-parent families, at least one of whom works full-time. So why
are they uninsured, since nearly two-thirds of our country's
non-elderly have the benefit of employer-offered health insurance?
Most say they simply can't afford it, either because their
employers don't supplement the bulk of the expense or they don't
make enough to buy insurance themselves. Either way, it seems
they're left with only two options: apply for public assistance or
live without health care entirely.
A Closer Look
To better understand the effects of living without health
insurance, let's take a closer look at the uninsured, courtesy of
the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Here are some findings from a
2005 report on the
- More than 8 in 10 of the uninsured are workers or their
- Because Medicare covers many older Americans, most of
the uninsured are under age 65.
- They tend to be employed and making less than $20,000
- Members of minority groups are disproportionately
represented among the uninsured.
- The majority have gone without insurance for two or
Why Are They Uninsured?
- Too expensive (64%)
- No employer-sponsored coverage (8%)
- Don't want or need it (8%)
- Change in employment (7%)
- Ineligible for public assistance (2%)
- Pre-existing condition/pregnancy (1%)
- Unemployed (1%)
- Undergoing family status change: divorce, death, etc.
As these statistics indicate, most Americans are uninsured not by
choice, but rather by circumstance.
The Lasting Effects
The consequences of living without health insurance can be dire:
- Lack of routine health care, resulting in late diagnosis and
- Lower quality emergency care, increasing the chance of death
- Higher mortality rates in otherwise preventable diseases
- Financial strain and debt from medical bills
- Lack of maternity care, resulting in higher mother and
infant mortality rates
Though millions face these consequences every day, many can
be helped. By getting involved in their communities, understanding
our health care system and how it works, and talking with local
insurance agents-some of whom specialize in low-cost insurance for
the needy-many of our nation's indigent can find needed care without
sacrificing their health.
Making a Change
Our health care system appears broken. And though congress and
special-interest groups are working hard to help those who are
falling through the cracks, change takes time. Meanwhile, the
uninsured go without routine checkups and much-needed care, or find
the help they need through government assistance programs-passing
the cost along to those who are insured.
If you or your loved ones are uninsured, InsureMe can help. Our
network of agents will work hard to help you find a policy that fits
your needs and budget.