Who pays for the uninsured, and how much?
By Scott Cooney On March 3, 2012 · 1 Comment · In Policies of Sustainability ..inShare.
According to a 2009 US Census Report, 50.7 Million People are uninsured in the United States. That is 16.7% of the population. Or one of every six people. You might be surprised who is uninsured. The cost of health care for the uninsured is paid for by the government and by increased costs to everybody else. Both of these costs are passed on to us in taxes, premiums, and co-pays. We all pay for the uninsured! Families USA reports health insurance premiums increased in 2010 to pay for the health care costs of the uninsured. Families pay an extra $1,502 per year, and individuals pay an extra $532 per year. This does not include additional government expenditures paid by Medicare, Medicaid, tax incentives, and other government programs, which we also pay for in taxes. The report estimates the cost of the uninsured will top $60 Billion in 2010. The uninsured use the emergency room for the majority of their medical treatment. In one county in Texas nine people accounted for 2,678 visits over a six year period, costing an estimated $3 Million dollars. And there are 50.7 Million uninsured people in America. The US Centers for Disease Control reports that people without insurance account for 16% or 1 in every 6 emergency room visits. The uninsured also had the highest incidence of non-urgent care in the emergency room, at 19% of all uninsured visits. These expensive emergency room visits, estimated to cost around $1,000 each, are much more expensive than regular preventive health care. One study by a health economist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, shows that uninsured patients pay 2.49 times more for the same procedures at a public hospital, than those covered by private health insurance. The ratio was even higher at for-profit hospitals charging 4.10 times more for the same procedures. The...
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