Study: Uninsured Pay $30 Billion for Health Care

A new report from George Mason University of Virginia and the Urban Institute finds that the uninsured pay $30 billion each year out of pocket for health care costs.

Others who provide for the uninsured are the government, physicians who donate time and forgo profits, and private charity.

The lead researcher points out that failure to cover the uninsured in the short term would only lead to greater costs for society in the long term.

From the article:

On average, an uninsured American pays $583 out of pocket toward average annual medical costs of $1,686 per person, Hadley’s team reported in the journal Health Affairs. 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.

One big problem that has been recognized for years with lack of universal health coverage is that people without good insurance sometimes put off going to the doctor or hospital until they are much sicker and need much more intense treatment.

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