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Lack of insurance affects health care industry

Published on September 9th, 2008

The Urban Institute did a study that showed Americans who go without health insurance.  They will spend $30 billion out of pocket for health care this year alone, and they will get $56 billion worth of free care, according to a report released on Monday.

Government programs pay for about three-quarters, or roughly $43 billion, of the bills for these uninsured people, Jack Hadley of George Mason University in Virginia and a team at the Urban Institute reported.

On average, an uninsured American pays $583 out of pocket toward average annual medical costs of $1,686 per person,  The annual medical costs of Americans with private insurance average far more — $3,915, with $681, or 17 percent, paid out of pocket, the report found.

"The uninsured receive a lot less care than the insured, and they pay a greater percentage of it out of pocket. Contrary to popular myth, they are not all free riders," Hadley said.

Current estimates show that 47 million Americans lack any health insurance, and 28 million have gone without for some part of the year.  

Joe Pioletti
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