Posted on May 05, 2008 by Sergio Ulloa
According to a recent New York Times
article, America has an estimated 48 million uninsured citizens and this number may soon increase due to the economic downturn being felt across the country right now. Not only is this downturn pushing people out of being insured, but it is also dramatically affecting the insured population.
An increasing reality for many of the 158 million citizens that are insured through their employers is that medical costs are becoming unaffordable. Rising prices for food and gasoline are making many Americans think twice about their spending on health care. From another perspective, rising insurance premiums, narrower coverage, and bigger deductible and co-pay requirements are pushing health care prices through the roof. It follows that many insured Americans are not financially prepared for the costs of emergency room visits and necessary surgeries. They are choosing to pay for food and gasoline over necessary doctor visits.
According to consulting and accounting firm Deloitte
, nearly one fifth of the average household's spending goes to health care. Since 2001, health care premiums for families have risen to $3,300 from $1,800 while incomes have not increased enough to cover this change. Another survey by Deloitte points out that less than 10% of American feel they are financially prepared for their future health care needs.
Employers are also feeling the effects of a soft economy. Expenses for health care are skyrocketing and as a result, many employers are passing on these increased costs to their employees. Many have begun pushing for consumer-driven plans where lower premiums come in the form of higher annual deductibles. According to the New York Times
article, nearly 6 million Americans are now enrolled in such plans.
With Presidential Elections coming later this year, it should be very interesting to see what remedies each candidate puts for and how the nation responds.