Seventy-one percent of the estimated 26 million people who braved the individual health insurance market in the previous three years found significant roadblocks or were rejected, according to a report by the Commonwealth Fund.
The majority of adults seeking health insurance on the individual market face outright rejection due to pre-existing conditions, pre-existing condition exclusions, or higher premiums and higher deductibles.
Sadly, millions of Americans are delaying or skipping care due to cost.
The State of Health Care in the U.S.
- 24 percent of working-age adults report they or their spouse lost their job within the past few years
- 47 percent of those said either they, or their spouse, lost health benefits provided through that job
- 57 percent of those who lost health benefits along with their job became uninsured. Only one-quarter of those were able to go on their spouse’s insurance or obtain other coverage. Just 14 percent were able to continue coverage through COBRA, a temporary fix at best.
- There are now 52 million uninsured adults in the U.S.
- 73 million adults had trouble paying for health care and 75 million put off treatment due to cost
The state of health care in America is precarious at best.
Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act is inadequate, but it is poised to begin moving us toward a more compassionate system, one where Americans lacking employer-provided health insurance are not left out in the cold.
When the full force of the Affordable Care Act goes into effect in 2014, insurers will no longer be able to rescind policies when people get sick, reject people who have a pre-existing condition, or place lifetime limits or restrictive annual limits on care.
Until then, the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) was set up to help Americans with pre-existing conditions who have been denied health coverage or priced out of the individual market. PCIP is far from perfect. There are no bargains in the current high-risk pool, and one must be uninsured for six months to be eligible. Still, it is a lifeline for those who can afford it. (High-Risk Insurance Pool Enrollment Climbing: Are You Eligible?)
It’s time we get our act together.
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