According to Families USA, a consumer advocacy group, 2,175 American citizens die each month due to a lack of health insurance. Because of this startling statistic, health managers and government officials are trying to find ways to bring more affordable healthcare to the un- and under-insured. But what exactly are the risks for those that don’t have insurance?
No matter how hard people work and save, medical procedures can be financially draining. Without insurance, it’s not unusual for those who need serious or extended medical care to see their bills climb into the tens of thousands. For those people living paycheck-to-paycheck, these kinds of bills can be devastating. High medical bills can force people to sell possessions, give up necessities or even file bankruptcy. It’s an unfortunate truth that many people in America are foregoing medical care in order to feed their families. The choice of taking care of one’s health and heating the house, feeding the kids or paying the rent isn’t one that should have to be made by anyone.
For some workers, medical insurance is not provided by the company for which they work. Yes, private insurance is an option, but this type of insurance can be incredibly expensive. Many people weight the risk of getting sick against the drain that stiff premiums will have on their bank account. For people who have led relatively healthy lives, private medical insurance can soon seem like an unnecessary expense. Unfortunately, when people decide not to carry insurance, only to need it years later, premiums can rise even further. This is due to the fact that insurance companies look at past medical histories and prior insurance information when setting policy premiums.
3.Difficulty Finding Care
If you don’t have health insurance, finding care can be incredibly difficult, regardless of your ability to pay out-of-pocket. Doctor’s offices and clinics frequently make determinations based on their bottom line; burned too many times, these healthcare facilities may be hesitant to treat you, if they don’t refuse you outright. While it may not be important to visit a physician if you have a sniffle, what happens if you’re having chest pains or difficulty breathing? In these instances, there is no time to spend looking for a clinic or hospital that is willing to treat the uninsured.
Recently, Mitt Romney stated, during an interview with “60 Minutes” that the uninsured in America aren’t dying in their apartments due to a lack of care. Whether you support Mr. Romney and his ideals or not, this statement is simply untrue. In fact, if you have breast cancer and no insurance, you are twice as likely to die as someone who is insured. Take what seems to be a minor illness into consideration: By the time you are able to afford care or purchase insurance, that festering illness may have turned into something quite serious. The truth is that not having health insurance can kill you.
Affordable health care in America has been a problem for decades. It is only when government officials, insurance companies and healthcare administrators can work together that the problem may be eliminated. Until every American can find affordable health care, our friend, families and neighbors who are un- or under-insured will continue to put their health and lives at risk.
Ivan Nichols is an avid health blogger. If you’re interested in becoming an administrator for nursing homes that need good leaders, you might consider a degree in health administration, like the one available at healthadministration.uc.edu.