Private Insurance Doesn't Ensure Health Care

Discussions about health care often focus on the issue of the uninsured. This is certainly an important issue as there are many people who lack health insurance and therefore access to care. However, it is wrong to assume that people who have insurance necessarily have access to care.

  • Many people with insurance have high deductible policies and therefore they delay or avoid important and costly tests that can detect problems before they become serious. [Source: Health Affairs, July/August 2009].
  • Insurance often does not cover necessary care. Medical issues contribute to more than half of all bankruptcies in the United States. 75 percent of those who are bankrupted by medical bills had insurance. [Source: American Journal of Medicine, August 2009].
  • Tens of thousands of Vermonters have had problems paying their medical bills. 50, 674 residents of Vermont with private health insurance were contacted by collections agencies about unpaid medical bills in 2008. [Source: Vermont Household Health Insurance Survey, BISHCA, p. 33].
  • In 2008, 550 Vermont families with insurance went bankrupt due to health care costs. [Source: July 2009 Report of US House of Representatives, Committee on Energy and Commerce].
  • Administrative waste consumes 31% of all private health care spending in the United States and costs an extra $400 billion a year to the health care system. [Sources: Physicians for a National Health Program and Public Citizen].
  • The California Nurses Association found that for-profit insurers denied 21% of all health claims in California. [Source: California Nurses Association].
  • Medical debt damages credit, causes bankruptcy, leads to housing insecurity and jeopardizes family finances. As American consumers already know, without health care reform that achieves quality, affordable coverage for all, it will be impossible to restore family economic security. [Source: Health Costs and Family Economic Insecurity].

Read more about why having private insurance doesn't ensure health care coverage here.