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WASHINGTON - Health insurance premiums will cost families and employers an extra $922 on average this year to cover the costs of caring for the uninsured, according to a report released Wednesday.
With the added cost, the yearly premiums for a family with coverage through an employer will average $10,979 in 2005, said the report from consumer group Families USA.
By 2010, the additional costs for the uninsured will be $1,502, and total premiums will hit $17,273. In 11 states, the costs of the uninsured will exceed $2,000 per family.
You may think personal bankruptcies are the result of job loss or wild credit card spending.
But a new study published in The American Journal of Medicine says the biggest reason for going into bankruptcy is medical debt.
Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman reports the study says getting sick is a factor in 62 percent of personal bankruptcies -- an increase from just eight percent in 1981.
And among those who filed for bankruptcy, 75 percent reported having some type of medical insurance. But The Washington Post says people in bankruptcy with insurance were nearly $18,000 in the red. And those without insurance had an average of almost $27,000 in medical debt.
The study found that between 68 percent and 88 percent of Americans either strongly or somewhat support health reform ideas that include national health plans, a public plan option, guaranteed issue, expansion of Medicare and Medicaid and employer and individual mandates. Reaction to capping the current tax exclusion of employment-based health benefits is mixed.
The survey also found that if the current tax exclusion of health benefits were capped (as some have proposed), 47 percent of respondents would switch to a less costly plan if the exclusion were set at $5,000, 38 percent would keep their plan and pay the taxes, and 9 percent said they do not know what they would do.
The survey was conducted May 8 to June 2 through 21-minute telephone interviews with 1,000 individuals age 21 and older.
Uninsured Americans could incur nearly $41 billion in uncompensated health care treatment in 2004, with federal, state and local governments paying as much as 85 percent of the care, according to a new Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured (KCMU) study.
What Do We Spend Now?
Medical costs for all the uninsured may reach $125 billion in 2004.
One-third of this care ($41 billion) is uncompensated, meaning it is not paid by insurance or out-ofpocket by the individual.
Another major finding of the study, authored by Urban Institute researchers Jack Hadley and John Holahan, is that if the country provided coverage to all the uninsured, the cost of additional medical care provided to the newly insured would be $48 billion—an increase of 0.4 percent in health spending’s share of the gross domestic product.
"Leaving 44 million Americans uninsured exacts a substantial price on society as well as individuals, while covering the uninsured would improve their health care without generating large increases in overall health spending," said Diane Rowland, executive director of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.
Of the $41 billion in spending on uncompensated care, $35 billion or as much as 85 percent is federal, state, and local government spending. Two thirds of the $35 billion in government spending on uncompensated care is attributable to the federal government, most of which goes toward payments to hospitals to offset losses incurred when a large share of patients are unable to pay their hospital bills.