A 2007 study reports that there are higher health risks for the uninsured. Specifically looking at heart attack victims, the Yale University findings are the result of a study of 2,498 heart attack patients treated in medical centers across the U.S. The Harlan M. Krumholz, MD study revealed the following:
* A year after their heart attacks:
- Patients with financial barriers to health care services were 30% more likely to need a second hospital visit for heart symptoms than were patients without financial barriers.
- Patients with financial barriers to prescription drugs were 70% more likely to need a second hospital visit for heart symptoms.
- Patients with financial barriers to prescription drugs were 55% more likely to suffer angina– chest pain due to reduced blood flow to the heart muscle.
- Quality of life was significantly worse for patients with financial barriers to health care and medication.
* SOURCES: Rahimi, A.R. The Journal of the American Medical Association, March 14, 2007; vol 297: pp 1063-1072. Hadley, J. The Journal of the American Medical Association, March 14, 2007; vol 297: pp 1073-1084. The Journal of the American Medical Association news conference with: Harlan M. Krumholz, MD, professor of medicine, epidemiology, and public health, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.; Jack Hadley, PhD, The Urban Institute, Washington, D.C.; Catherine D. DeAngelis, MD, MPH, editor-in-chief, The Journal of the American Medical Association.
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Although the results of the study are very distressing, there are a number of steps one can take to secure affordable health care insurance. The following is a list compiled by insurancetips.com to help you lower your health care insurance costs:
- Increase Out-of-Pocket Costs: By paying for more out-of-pocket fees such deductibles and co-payments, the less you will pay in premiums.
- Assess Family Coverage: Check to see if you are better off with everyone in the family on one plan, or if you should divide coverage. For instance, is it better to keep one adult on the employer plan, and purchase a private family plan for the other spouse and children?
- Reassess Employer Options: Make sure you are not paying a higher premium because your plan allows a choice of physician.
- Make sure you are not paying for more benefits than you need. The more benefits that you have, the higher the premium.
- Accept higher deductibles: accepting a higher deductible will reduce your premium.
- Improve Your Health: Many employers offer cash or contributions that are put toward an employee’s premiums
- Understand the Insurance Contract: Study the fine print of any health insurance policy. Look for clauses regarding pre-existing conditions that may affect your daily life.
- Online Instant Quote Service: With this service, you will receive quotes from a number of insurance providers and thereby create incentive for insurers to provide the best plan at the best price.
When faced with a sudden health crisis, medical expenses can be overwhelming. There may be a long and expensive recovery period. The results of the Krumholz Study show that your health may be at risk if you do not have health insurance. It is important to take the steps to reduce your health insurance costs to protect your health as well as your loved ones.