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Those With Health Insurance Pay $1017 a Year Extra

Concerned that providing health insurance for the nation's uninsured is going to take a bite out of your finances? A recent study shows that if you are insured now you are already paying over $1000 a year to cover the costs of the uninsured:

U.S. families with health insurance are paying an estimated $1,017 more in annual premiums to compensate providers for healthcare to the uninsured, a report released on Thursday said.

The report by Families USA, a healthcare reform advocacy group, said doctors, hospitals and other health providers try to recover the cost of uncompensated care by increasing charges for those with private insurance.

The report said the cost shift was borne almost entirely by private insurers because rules in the Medicare health program for the elderly make it difficult for providers to pass on uncompensated care costs to that government program.

The fear mongering right will ignore evidence like this in their efforts to scare Americans, but we're talking about a huge amount of money that is being taken out of you paychecks in taxes and higher health care costs:

The uninsured who sought treatment in 2008 received about $116 billion in care, the study said. Of that, they paid for about 37 percent of the costs and government programs and charities paid for another 26 percent, the study said.

The rest, about $42.7 billion, was uncompensated care that was passed on to the insured in the form of higher prices for their care, it said.

The portion covered by charities definitely helps, but that still leaves 74% of the $116 Billion in cost last year which is being covered by your taxes and the increased health care costs you are paying.

The $1017 figure cited is the cost you are paying in increased premiums, and does not include the taxes you also pay on top of that which contribute to the 26% paid out by the government and charities in 2008 to cover costs incurred by the uninsured.

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Comments (12)

Paul Hooson:

I can see where this is exactly true. You face a long wait in emergency rooms because of a huge number of persons using public health or who can't afford to pay that use those services instead of regular doctors appointments, often for medical conditions that are not real serious.

April 2008, I walked in as a bleeding mess from a serious motorbike accident I had when I lost control in a sudden hailstorm, and I didn't hardly see anyone in the waiting room that looked too bad at all. And I've gone to the emergency twice in 2007, when my dad collapsed twice and was bleeding internally, once from a stroke, and it was the same thing. Many poor people using expensive emergency services rather than regular doctor's appointments. Bill Clinton was right that the poor use emergency services too much, and they need to be steered into far cheaper clinic services like regular users of doctor appointments. Health care reform is needed to reduce costs and to steer persons to the proper services.

Lee Ward:

Hospital emergency rooms are used as drop-in clinics for the uninsured.

Mark T:

The report says that providers pass all uncompensated losses thru to insurance companies, who in turn pass it on to insureds, but does not provide any proof to support that and it seems unlikely that providers have so much bargaining power to pass thru 100% of their costs (indeed, if they did, it would undermine the entire cost containment argument being propounded elsewhere). The entire report rests on that unproven assumption. It was a pretty weak effort unless you are predisposed to agree with it.


So you think that just because I'm already paying over $1,000 for people who are uninsured (Gee, I wonder how many of them are illegal aliens.)I should be jumping for joy to sign onto single payer health insurance?

I'd rather pay 1,000 more than pay more with single payer health care or have my health care rationed by the government.


Those w/o health insurance, should have fricken studied and done in school, and devote more time to their job than to their other bad habits instead expecting other people to pick up the pieces of their messed up life.

WTF is it with people? Why are so many so fricken useless and reliant upon others anymore?

F THEM, its Darwinism at its finest. If you sure too stupid, burned out, or lazy to be ale to get a good job that pays enough to provide for you and yours, well, we should dont need any more of you. Is it too late to abort people who cant provide for themselves?


Once again the clueless weigh in on a subject they know nothing about.

I have a friend named Bill. Bill can not get health insurance because he had leukemia when he was 11......no one will insure him.

Is Bill the kind of loser GianD describes?

Maybe if GianD has sobered up a bit he could respond.


Uninsured use the ER for episodic care usually due to the fact the ER HAS to see them, and can't turn them away for failure to pay. I've worked in a clinic that requested a $15 "co-pay" for uninsured, the rest of the bill waived if they met sliding scale requirements (


oops, html tag problems

...(with open slots available across the street). Federal Law requires the ER to see all comers. These folks run up huge bills they never intend to pay so they can avoid a $15 charge from their primary care manager. Change the law, behavior will change, ER's will open up and costs will drop without making any change in insurance programs.

Lee Ward:

And what happens to the sick folk who don't have health insurance?

The report said the cost shift was borne almost entirely by private insurers because rules in the Medicare health program for the elderly make it difficult for providers to pass on uncompensated care costs to that government program.

So the choice is paying more to a private insurer with some incentive to minimize their costs and overhead or paying more in taxes to a government entity with baseline budgets and therefore no such concerns about spending other people's money?

I'll just keep my overpriced private insurance, thank you very much.

And FWIW, Medicaid covers the "poor" uninsured. Medicare is for retirees. So that argument is an apples-to-oranges non sequitur.


You don't give a damn about taxpayers paying extra for healthcare. Otherwise, you'd be against government-run healthcare, an option that the Dems are trying to put in their plan. Government run healthcare is going to cost $2-4 trillion, according to the CBO. So why aren't you still concerned about extra cost?

Other things that cost a lot that you support:
-healthcare free riders whom you were already complaining about when citing the report in this post
-$1,800 billion budget deficits
-stimulus packages
-welfare and entitlement programs

Lee Ward:

I'm all for some taxpayers paying more for health care so that other Americans who can't afford health care can be insured.

The debate about 'paying more' needs to include the hidden costs, as outlined above, that aren't normally included in the equation.


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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