Study Estimates Cost Added to Private Health Insurance Premiums To Cover Uncompensated Care
The average U.S. family and their employers paid an additional $1,017 in health care premiums in 2008 to pay for care of the uninsured, according to a study released on Thursday by Families USA, USA Today reports (Kim, USA Today, 5/28). According to the study, which examined federal data, the uninsured received $116 billion in health care from hospitals, physicians and other providers in 2008 and paid 37% of that amount. Government programs and charities covered an additional 26%, which left another 37%, or about $43 billion, unpaid. The study then estimated how those costs are when spread across the insured through higher premiums, the study found. According to the study, prepared by the actuarial firm Milliman, the average additional amount paid under private coverage for single individuals was about $370 per year (Werner, AP/Austin American-Statesman, 5/28). Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack said, "This is a hidden tax on all insurance premiums, whether it is paid by business for their work or by families when they purchase their own coverage" (USA Today, 5/28).
The study is available online.