Report Indicates Number of Americans without Health Insurance Has Increased Dramatically

A report by the Commonwealth Fund, a private, health care policy foundation has found that there has been a significant rise in the percentage of moderate- to middle-income working age Americans who did not have health insurance for some part of the year.

In 2001, the figure was 28%. In 2005, however, that figure soared to 41%. In addition, over 50% of the uninsured adults claimed to be having difficulties paying for their medical care directly or in repaying credit debt incurred to make those payments.

Another disturbing finding in the report, which involved 4,350 adults, was that those who were uninsured were less likely to have a regular doctor or to undergo recommended diagnostic health screenings (mammograms, chest x-rays, PSA tests, etc.). They were also likely (59%) to skip doses of important medications for chronic conditions like asthma or diabetes.

The study indicates a number of troubling trends in America including: an out-of-control health insurance crisis; employers no longer offering coverage as a benefit or offering plans that are too expensive for the average worker; or requiring employee contribution to premium payments that are beyond workers’ ability to pay.

In 2001, 21% of the population was uninsured; in 2005, the figure was 28%. In 2004, the Census Bureau estimated some 45.8 million Americans were without health insurance.

The harmful shortcuts like skipping medications and recommended screenings also appear to lead to more serious health problems down the road. Increased emergency room visits and hospital stays are likely thereby putting additional strain on the healthcare system.

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