KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf
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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Why Americans Are Going Broke

Many Americans are just one major medical illness away from financial catastrophe.

A research team from Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School, and Ohio University reported in the American Journal of Medicine that 60% of U.S. personal bankruptcies are caused by overwhelming medical bills ... and that more than 75% of families that declared bankruptcy because of medical bills had health insurance that provided insufficient coverage.

The researchers said that the proposed changes to the health-insurance system that are being considered "are unlikely to help many Americans" and urged converting to a single-payer system. I agree; our current system is well past broken.



5 comments:

Michelloui said...

Im an ostrich when it comes to information like this. Grateful that I live in the UK with the flawed but still stumbling along NHS, but anxious for my parents who have the minefield of the golden years in the States to navigate.

Darrick & Melanie said...

We almost filed for bankruptcy for this reason, and our bills were small compared with those for chronic illnesses, I'm sure. Our son was in NICU for five days after he was born. Our insurance "covered" it after we paid the deductible--oh, and this, and, wait a minute, there's this fee we don't cover, . . . We made too much money to get state help and too little to pay all the bills we had at that time. I felt responsible, though, for not preparing for the worst, but really, how do you prepare for that?

WMW said...

Absolutely correct. We had pretty decent insurance but still would have been in trouble if we weren't lucky enough to have another safety net of family/friends/church. Many people don't, and really, are we supposed to need to? Isn't that what insurance is supposed to be for?

We're now moving into the individual market and let me just say that I hope and pray to the tune of $561/mo plus thousands out of pocket that we get at least a public option, ideally single payer...SOON.

Wendy
(wetzeledit on Twitter)

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

I used to obtain family health insurance coverage through my membership in an association of editorial freelancers. That got too expensive. Then Ed, my husband, got laid off and started his own business. Because it's incorporated (mine's not—it's a sole proprietorship), we qualify for "cheaper" small-business rates. For our family to have HMO coverage in the state of New York, his business pays (i.e., we pay) $866 a month. That's about two thirds of our monthly mortgage payment. If the economy doesn't pick up, his business will fold and we'll lose our health insurance and our home.

libhom said...

We definitely need single payer.

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