By Lisa Zamosky
Whether or not you have health insurance could be a matter of life or death. That’s the message of a recent report by the consumer advocacy organization, Families USA.
According to the report, “Dying for Coverage, the Deadly Consequences of Being Uninsured,” people without health insurance are 25% more likely to die prematurely than people who do have coverage. In 2010, that translated to more than 26,000 Americans between the ages of 25 and 64 dying prematurely because they did not have health insurance. That breaks down to nearly 2,200 people each month and a total of 134,120 people between 2005 and 2010.
The report cites a number of all-too-familiar reasons for people’s lack of insurance. In some instances a pre-existing health condition blocked them from coverage. Many were simply unable to afford a health plan, a matter only made worse by this seemingly never-ending economic recession.
Cost is a Barrier
The report lays out a number of sobering statistics:
- Adults without health insurance are five times less likely to have a regular source of care than people with coverage
- The uninsured have a higher incidence of being diagnosed with a disease in an advanced stage
- People without insurance are almost four times as likely as those with coverage to delay or forgo preventive care screenings
- The uninsured are more than six times as likely to go without needed medical care
- Cancer patients are five times more likely to skip care because of cost if they lack health insurance.
The Promise of Reform
The release of this report was timed to the Supreme Court’s impending ruling on whether or not the Affordable Care Act – also known as Obamacare – will remain the law of the land. The court’s decision is expected sometime this week.
FamiliesUSA supports the law and states that health reform will help to significantly reduce the number of uninsured Americans and the dangers associated with a lack of health insurance coverage. Under the law, between 30 and 33 million people who are currently uninsured are expected to gain coverage.
“Beginning in 2014, millions of Americans will be eligible for assistance with the cost of health coverage. In addition, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage or charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions. These measures, among others, will help reverse the growth in the number of uninsured Americans year after year,” the report states.
Tell your story: Are you currently uninsured? Have you thought about the impact of health reform for you and your family? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.