New Research Points to ‘Hidden Tax’ To Pay for Care for the Uninsured
The average U.S. family and their employers paid an additional $1,017 in health care premiums in 2008 to pay for care of the uninsured, according to a Families USA studyÂ released Thursday, USA Today reports (Kim, USA Today, 5/28). Researchers examined federal data and found that the uninsured received $116 billion in health care from hospitals, physicians and other providers in 2008 and paid 37% of that amount.
Government programs and charities covered an additional 26%, which left another 37%, or about $43 billion, unpaid.
Those costs were then shifted to the insured through higher premiums, the study found. According to the study, an average individual with private coverage pays an additional $370 per year to cover the costs of the uninsured (Werner, AP/Austin American-Statesman, 5/28).
Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack said, "This is a hidden tax on all insurance premiums, whether it is paid by business for their work or by families when they purchase their own coverage" (USA Today, 5/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.