Number of Uninsured Americans Soars
The Census Bureau is reporting that the number of uninsured Americans is $50.7 million, the highest number since 1987, the year the government began keeping records.
Translated another way, the Bureau numbers mean that nearly 1 in 6 Americans are now uninsured.
The reasons for the increase are not difficult to define; more employees are being laid off and employers are cutting back on their contributions to health coverage.
Additionally, some families are cutting or dropping their coverage altogether; according to USA Today, the cost of insuring a family of 4 is $14,000 per year.
Although proponents of the Affordable Health Care Act are using the data to demonstrate the need for the mandates of the new law, they will not be in full effect until 2014. In a USA Today interview, Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health, states, “Eventually, more people will be covered if everything goes the way it should starting in 2014. But that’s four years away, and there’s going to be a long of financial pain and economic burden before 2014.”
Conversely, opponents of the law are using the same stats to make their point that the efficacy of the law is suspect. They cite the government’s recent actuary report that shows that health costs will increase over the next decade.
Earlier this month, the Kaiser Foundation released other insurance statistics: employees are paying 47% more for their health coverage, even though premiums have only risen 27%. Additionally, income rose 18%, while inflation rose 12%.
This is largely due to the fact that employers are passing on more of their costs of coverage onto their workers, which means employee contributions are increasing at a faster rate than annual income. The Kaiser review also revealed that 30% of employers either reduced their benefits or increased expense sharing.
Other Kaiser findings previously reported by Food Consumer:
*Worker-only (single coverage) benefits increased by 5% in 2010
*For those covered workers who pay a co-payment for doctor visits, there was a slight increase the co-payment fee: from $20-$22 for primary care and from $28-$31 for specialty care
*Mental health care benefits on average increased. Of firms with more than 50 employees, 31% dropped overage limits due to the 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.
*Of employers offering wellness benefits, 74% offer one or more of the following wellness programs: gym membership, smoking cessation program, nutrition classes, online healthy living resources, on-site exercise facilities, weight lost program, etc.
The Kaiser survey was conducted between January and May of 2010; for the research the Kaiser Family Foundation and HRET randomly selected 3,143 non-federal public and private firms with 3 or more employed workers.
The Census Bureau statistics cover 2009.
- Vitamin E May Alleviate Symptoms of Liver Disease Brought on by Obesity
- Getting to the Root of How GMO Plants Harm Food Production and Your Health
- Addictive and Toxic: Found in Bread, Pasta Sauce and Salad Dressing
- Pressure mounts to remove GMOs from infant formula (PR)
- 10 reasons why we don’t need GM foods