Posts Tagged - ‘uninsured’

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59 Million Americans Without Health Insurance Last Year

Monday, November 15th, 2010

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a survey that found that 59.1 million people in the United States were uninsured for at least some part of 2010. In contrast, just 56.8 million were uninsured in 2008.

One in three middle-income adults (considered to have annual incomes between $43,000 and $65,000) under the age of 65 lacked a health insurance plan some time during the past twelve months, according to the CDC survey.

Many blame the recession for this turn of events, since millions have become unemployed and therefore lost their employer-sponsored health benefits.

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Should Pro Wrestlers Be Given Health Insurance Plans?

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Image: David Seto under CC 3.0

Although the story lines of professional wrestling are fake, the health risks are as real as can be. During the course of their job, wrestlers are often injured.

Strangely, in an industry that puts its workers at risk, they are not provided with health insurance plans. That is because pro wrestlers are generally considered independent contractors (although they cannot work for competing companies–this is especially the case under World Wrestling Entertainment). The biggest stars can afford to pay for their health care outright, but mid-card wrestlers will find it very difficult to find health coverage–due to their myriad pre-existing conditions and high-risk occupation. Former WWE executive Linda McMahon is currently running for the Senate in Connecticut; as a Republican, this status of her workers has been criticized.

Former WWE wrestler Mick Foley claims that being reclassified as an employee–and therefore having employer-sponsored health insurance–isn’t all positive. Currently, wrestlers receive potentially lucrative royalties for every usage of their image; WWE, especially, regularly releases DVDs and paid Internet and On Demand TV screening. As employees, they would lose that income stream. In other words, the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence.

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Census: Percentage of Americans With Health Insurance Plan Dropped

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Image: Michigan Municipal League (MML) under CC 3.0

Since the Census Bureau began tracking the percentage of Americans who are insured in 1987, last year showed the lowest rate on record. 253.6 million reported having a health insurance plan in 2009, which doesn’t seem so bad until you find out that 255.1 million were insured last year.

The recession is largely to blame, because it caused hundreds of thousands of employees to lose jobs with health benefits. Supporters of healthcare reform will likely use this statistic as an argument for the necessity of the Obama administration’s legislation.

At the same time, Medicaid enrollment rose, along with the poverty rate.

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Statistics About Massachusetts’ Uninsured

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010
affordable health insurance
Image: David Paul Ohmer under CC 3.0

Largely due to the state’s first-in-the-nation healthcare reform, Massachusetts residents are the most likely in America to have a health insurance plan. Still, the expansion has not succeeded in providing universal coverage. Why?

A recent study from the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s State Access Reform Evaluation looked to identify the 4.1 percent who were still uninsured.

Here are their findings on the average Massachusetts resident without health insurance:

  • From 19 to 64 years old
  • male
  • an ethnic or racial minority (African-American, Hispanic, etc.)
  • unmarried
  • lack of proficency in the English language; either their own or that of an adult who lives with them
  • less educated
  • not a U.S. citizen
  • more likely to be unemployed
  • could be eligible for public Medicaid coverage

The study’s authors believe that the state’s message may not be getting across to its attempted demographic. Suggestions include rewriting the program information in order for it to be understandable with a 4th to 8th grade reading level.

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Health Coverage and HIV/AIDS

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Image: Sully Pixel under CC 3.0

With its affordable health insurance legislation under its belt, the Obama administration has begun tackling a new health issue: the HIV/AIDS crisis. Although new infections have slowed since their peak in the ’80s, many people are still affected.

It is a two-pronged effort, aimed at reducing new infections while increasing access to health care for those who already have it. Instead of allocating significant amounts of new funding, existing funding will be redirected to high-risk populations like African-Americans and gay/bisexual men.

Some fear that the new comprehensive strategy won’t be enough, however. The economy has resulted in many people losing their jobs, which for many also means losing health coverage. Although there are medications that allow HIV patients to live longer and healthier lives, they are still very expensive. The out-of-pocket cost is almost out of reach for the uninsured. In addition, a person with HIV or AIDS would find it almost impossible to buy health insurance on the open market for the next several years.

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Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan Has Launched!

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Image: twbuckner under CC 3.0

Today is the official launch date of one of the most heavily hyped elements of affordable health insurance reform: the temporary pools for up to 350,000 uninsured people with pre-existing conditions. Only citizens or legal residents who have lacked insurance for over six months are eligible to sign up.

29 states will run their own health insurance pools, while 21 others have left the responsibility up to the federal government’s Department of Health and Human Services. Those living in the latter states can apply today for coverage that begins next month, while others must wait until later this summer. Many of the latter were leery of supplementing their existing high-risk pools with another one that met the new requirements (that rates charged are similar to the rest of the market, etc.) However, the rates charged in each state will vary widely, based on several factors–including age.

These pools are intended as temporary solutions for health coverage, until reforms take full effect in four years. By 2014, these stopgap solutions should no longer be necessary, since health insurers will no longer be allowed to deny coverage to high-risk patients.

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More People Without Health Insurance Plans Last Year

Monday, June 21st, 2010

The number of uninsured Americans increased in 2009, according to a recent survey. Three million more lost their health insurance plans as a result of the recession. Private employers dropped their coverage as they laid off workers.

Some proponents believe that healthcare reform will alleviate this problem by decoupling insurance from employment.

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Ohio Health Insurance For Young Adults Goes Past Nation

Friday, June 11th, 2010

As most people know, the national healthcare reform law requires health insurers to cover young adult dependents of policyholders.

While the federal law is effective until age 26, recent Ohio health insurance legislation goes a step further. In that state, all regulated health plans are required to extend that coverage until he or she turns 28!

Large corporations that self-insure (instead of buying coverage) are exempt, although activists are asking them to comply regardless.

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Massachusetts Health Insurance Coverage Rates Stay Steady

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Like the rest of the country, the state of Massachusetts has been battered by the recession. Many people are jobless, which would normally leave them uninsured prior to healthcare reform.

However, the percentage of residents with Massachusetts health insurance has remained largely steady. This is partially due to reform decoupling health coverage with employment. The 4.8% of uninsured residents in 2009 is the lowest percentage in the nation, and is similar to 2008 figures. Racial minorities are just as likely to be insured as Caucasians.

Their own reform experience may be a ray of hope for the nation.

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How Does Health Insurance Coverage Affect Emergency Room Visits?

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Image: Chris.Violette under CC 3.0

It is commonly believed that the lack of affordable health insurance results in more emergency room visits, many of which could otherwise have been avoided. However, a recent study shows that isn’t always true.

Here are some facts about the ER and insurance status:

  • Those who are between the ages of 18 and 44 and uninsured are more likely to have gone to the emergency room in the past year than those with private health insurance.
  • On the other hand, insurance status has no impact on how often the 45-64 age group visits the ER.
  • Children under age 18 also have similar rates of emergency visits.
  • Strangely, low-income individuals and families on Medicaid are more likely to resort to multiple emergency treatments than those with no insurance at all! This does not bode well for the prospects of healthcare reform, which will bring millions of new people into the fold through that government program–as well as through other means.
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