Having Health Insurance No Cure For High Medical Bills
Recently a high-ranking executive of the Kaiser Family Foundation testified before congress that 1/6th of American adults who have private health insurance still have big trouble when it comes to paying their medical bills.
Clearly such statements indicate that the problem with healthcare in this country does not only apply to the 45 million people without access to medical insurance. In fact increasingly it seems having health insurance is no hedge against major out of pocket medical expenses. Healthcare costs other then health insurance are so out of control that in Florida doctors recently announced that they will be tacking on additional administrative fees to their patients bills just like a bank or credit card company.
The same day that a Florida newspaper reported that disturbing news about the additional fees, an NBC News poll conducted in conjunction with the Wall Street Journal reported the costs of healthcare as being the main financial concern to most Americans.
While everyone is interested in finding access to affordable medical coverage and cheap health insurance, medical experts project that direct healthcare costs for consumers could jump up as high as 76 percent over the next ten years. And that includes even for those with what they believe to be adequate medical coverage. High Deductible Health Plans have been attractive to consumers because they represent for many low cost health insurance. However, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics published a recent study that indicated families with these high deductible health plans are much more likely to put off necessary treatments because of high fees.
And that is not the only example of costs negatively influencing patient’s medical decisions. Another recent study, this one published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, stated that for each10% rise in direct medical costs, purchase of required prescriptions medications drops by 6%
And while 45 million Americans go without health insurance, and those that have found an affordable policy white knuckle it that if they have problem, they will be covered - insurance industry profits are on the rise. Up from $20 billion in 2002 to $57 billion in 2006. They weren't alone. In that same period, drug company profits went from $64 billion to $95 billion.
Americans are getting the picture. Many recent studies have shown a majority believe the government should provide guaranteed comprehensive healthcare insurance for everyone, even if it requires raising taxes to do it.