Washington Post Series Examines Issues Related to the Uninsured
The Washington Post recently published a series examining issues surrounding uninsured U.S. residents. Summaries of the articles appear below.
- "The Scramble for Care": People who lack health insurance often "postpone or forgo preventative care and treatment to avoid bills," and thus they have a "higher risk for hospitalization for chronic conditions and discovery of late-stage cancer," the Post reports. About 75% of uninsured adults are employed but either work for a company that does not offer health coverage, cannot afford premiums or are not eligible for coverage, according to the Post. Uninsured patients must "navigate the bureaucracies of a patchwork of public programs and private charities" and still often face high medical bills, the Post reports (Ishida, Washington Post, 9/9).
- "Younger, Older Adults at Risk": A second Post feature looks at young adults who are no longer covered under their parents' insurance policies and at older people who do not yet qualify for Medicare, two populations that are "particularly vulnerable to gaps in the health insurance system." The Post reports that younger adults may not be able to find stable and affordable insurance, while adults ages 50 to 64 may not be able to purchase insurance because they are more likely to have chronic conditions. In addition, only about 12% of U.S. employers provide health insurance benefits to retirees under age 65 (Ishida, Washington Post, 9/16).
- "Proposals for Expanding Health Care": The Post looks at some of the proposals to expand health coverage in the United States, including plans to achieve universal coverage by expanding Medicare; requiring all employers to provide health benefits with public programs for unemployed people; or mandating that individuals have insurance either through an employer or individual policy. Other proposals to boost coverage include expanding eligibility to state Medicaid and CHIP programs; allowing individuals under age 65 to purchase coverage through Medicare, with subsidies for low-income individuals; creating federal subsidies for businesses to expand employer-sponsored health benefits; or developing a system similar to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program for low-income people and their dependents (Ishida, Washington Post, 9/16).