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Are you underinsured?

What makes this finding political dynamite is that the number of underinsured jumped 60% from 2003 to 2007. Much of the jump occurred among small businesspeople and those with individual policies.
Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive

Cathy Shoen of The Commonwealth FundDo you have health insurance, but still spend over 10% of your income on medical expenses? Do your deductibles add up to over 5% of your total income?

If so you are underinsured, and according to the Commonwealth Fund you're not alone. The research group found 25 million people are in that boat. Add in the 47 million totally uninsured and 42% of adults under 65 are one diagnosis away from bankruptcy.

What makes this finding political dynamite is that the number of underinsured jumped 60% from 2003 to 2007. Much of the jump occurred among small businesspeople and those with individual policies.

One result is that the underinsured act much like the uninsured, skipping doctor visits, leaving prescriptions unfilled, or foregoing treatment to save money.

Thus the underinsured wind up sicker, which costs the system even more than if they were properly insured, and of course they die sooner.

Lead researcher Cathy Schoen is a senior vice president at the Commonwealth Fund and last year wrote Rite of Passage, about the problem of lack of insurance among young adults.

She estimated in 2006 that deficiencies in the nation’s health care system cost 100,000 to 150,000 lives per year and $50 to $100 billion annually. The picture, from AllHealth.org, shows her discussing that finding.

The Commonwealth Fund was founded in 1918 by Standard Oil heiress Anna Harkness.

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