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Premium increases’ impact on uninsurance

If health insurance premiums continue to increase by 10% annually, the percentage of working adults in California with employer-based coverage will decrease from 58% to 53% within five years. The finding, from a study by the University of California-Berkeley, also noted:
— for every 10% increase in premiums, 910,000 Americans lose employer-sponsored coverage
— of those who lose coverage, 75% are uninsured and 20% are insured by Medicaid
— the average premium increase over the last five years has been 11% nationally
According to the Contra Costa Times, 6/2Anthony Wright, director of Health Access, said, “We’re getting close to the tipping point. … Employers who do provide coverage (now) won’t because no one else is”.
I’ve been noting the convergence of a number of factors that seem to indicate growing pressure to come up with some national consensus on health care coverage reform. When middle class voters start to lose their health insurance, the “tipping point” will be reached. And when that happens, there will be reform.
What does this mean for you?
A reform that includes universal access would have relatively little impact on total medical costs (less than $90 billion annually) with significant improvements in health status of the presently uninsured. In addition, there would likely be less incentive for providers to cost-shift, thereby reducing the “hidden tax” inherent in today’s dysfunctional health care funding mess.

Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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