Poll Examines How Much U.S. Residents Are Willing To Pay for Health Coverage
Nearly two out of three uninsured U.S. adults (64%) say they would be willing to pay no more than $100 per month for health insurance; however, the average monthly cost of an individual plan is about $400 and a family plan costs about $1,000 per month, according to a recent poll by NPR, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, NPR.org reports (Knox, NPR.org, 4/24). The telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,238 adults was conducted between March 12 and March 22 ("The Public and the Health Care Delivery System," NPR/Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health, April 2009).
According to NPR.org, the finding highlights the "difficult issue" of whether middle-class U.S. residents, whose employers do not pay a large percentage of their premiums, will need subsidies to pay for health coverage in order to achieve universal coverage. Kaiser Family Foundation President and CEO Drew Altman said that the Massachusetts health insurance law is the first real test of how U.S. residents respond to individual health coverage requirements.
Jonathan Gruber, a health economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the new Massachusetts health insurance agency board, said that if everyone is going to be covered, some are going to have to adjust to the idea of paying more than they think they can for health coverage. "To my mind, the biggest gain from national health insurance is not necessarily in terms of improving health," he said, adding, "There's just a huge benefit in not having to go to bed at night worried about whether you're going to wake up with cancer and therefore go bankrupt" (NPR.org, 4/24).
The full results of the poll are available online.
NPR's "Morning Edition" on Friday reported on the poll. This week, NPR is reporting findings from the survey on its programs "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" (Knox, "Morning Edition," NPR, 4/24).