If you’ve ever wondered just how important health insurance really is, consider this: A recent report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says that families without insurance can only afford to completely pay for about 12% of the hospital stays they may have to have, even when they’re in the higher income brackets. Even worse, the hospital visits that those uninsured folks can’t afford to pay for represent 95 percent of all the monies billed by hospitals.
In addition, some analysts believe that the tally for uncompensated health care for the uninsured is about $73 billion a year, much of which results in higher costs for those people with insurance, and their employers who provide insurance plans.
The report also found that the 50 million people in this country who have no insurance also have no savings. The median financial assets for all uninsured families came in at a mere $20, and even in those families who make good money, assets are sparse. Half of the families who earn 400 percent of the federal poverty level (about $89,400 for a family of four this year) have less than $4,100 in the bank
When you consider that two million uninsured Americans are hospitalized each year, and that fifty-eight percent of those hospital stays are billed at more than $100,000, it’s obvious that there’s a problem here: no insurance, no payments.
Sherry Glied, HHS assistant secretary for planning and evaluation put it this way: “Health insurance is critical in helping protect families from unexpected hospital costs. This report shows that even higher-income uninsured families are struggling to meet the high costs of health care. No family should bear the burden of being one illness or accident away from bankruptcy.”
Consider this the next time you hear any government official making a statement against health insurance. Consider also: what if it were you?