Study Shows Uninsured Receive Less Care and Experience Worse Outcomes
A new study featured in the March 14, 2007, Journal of the American Medical Association theme issue on Access to Care documents that people who are uninsured receive less care and have worse outcomes following an accident or the onset of a new chronic condition than those with insurance.
Health Insurance Coverage of Women, 18-64 by, 2005-2006
Private Insurance: 81%
10 myths about uninsured:
Myth 1: The uninsured go without coverage because they believe they do not need it or don’t want it.
FACT: The majority of uninsured, regardless of how young they are, say they forgo coverage because they cannot afford it, not because they don’t need it.
Myth 2: Most of the uninsured do not have health insurance because they are not working and so don’t have access to health benefits through an employer.
FACT: Most of the uninsured are either working full-time or have someone in their immediate family who does — the problem is that the majority of the uninsured are not offered benefits through their employers.
Myth 3: Most of the growth in the uninsured has been among those with higher incomes.
FACT: The majority of the growth in the uninsured since 2000 has been among people earning less than $38,000 a year for a family of four (commonly considered low-income).
Myth 4: Most of the uninsured are new immigrants who are not U.S. citizens.
FACT: The large majority of the uninsured (79%) are American citizens.
Myth 5: The uninsured often receive health services for free or at reduced charge.
FACT: Free or even discounted health services are not common and when the uninsured are unable to pay the full costs, the unpaid medical bills add to their providers’ costs.
Myth 6: The uninsured can get the care they need when they really need it and are able to avoid serious health problems.
FACT: The uninsured are more likely to postpone and forgo care with serious consequences that increase their chances of preventable health problems, disability, and premature death.
Myth 7: Buying health insurance coverage on your own is always an option.
FACT: Individually purchased policies — vs. job-based group policies with similar benefits — are more expensive and coverage can be limited or even denied to persons in less than good health.
Myth 8: We don’t really know how large the uninsured problem is and many are only uninsured for brief periods.
FACT: Depending on whether we count the number of people who are uninsured during a specific month, for an entire year, or just for short periods, the numbers will differ; and all measures are useful.
Myth 9: The health care the uninsured receive, but do not pay for, results in higher insurance premiums.
FACT: The large majority of uncompensated care is subsidized through a mix of federal and state government dollars not cost-shifts to private payers.
Myth 10: Expanding health insurance coverage to all, or even a large share of the uninsured, will cost far more than the country currently spends on health care.
FACT: Because both the uninsured and government subsidies pay for a good share of their health care costs already, the amount of additional healthspending to cover all of the uninsured is relatively small.
Health Insurance Coverage of the Nonelderly, 2006, United States
Adults 19-24: 31.2 % uninsured
Adults 25-34: 27.1 % uninsured
Adult males, 19-34: 32.6 % uninsured
Adult females,19-43: 24.7 % uninsured