2020-09-08 What good is health insurance when you can't use it?

What can you do right now to help bring us closer to Improved Medicare for All? (continue below for this week’s news)

  1. We’re getting closer, but need your help to reach 1,000 NC signers on this letter to our Congressional Delegation before we send it off. You can help by asking everyone you know -  your organization, family and friends -  to sign on! 
  2. We need more elected officials who are advocates for M4A in Congress!!!  Make a plan to vote.  You can do it in person or by mail.  Check out how to register and vote here.

Do you have insurance with a high deductible, or unaffordable co-payments? Are you worried about being able to afford a doctor’s bill, even though you have insurance? If yes, then you are probably underinsured. 

Listen to organizer and city employee Nichel speak of her own experience with expensive premiums and still not being covered on necessary care (<2 mins). 

Underinsurance is one of the biggest (and least discussed) problems with our current healthcare system. Although we pay 2x more per person than other developed countries, 43.4% of adults in America, nearly half of us, are not adequately insured. These staggering numbers have real life consequences, especially during a public health crisis.

Here are a few troubling findings from the recently released Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey that was taken from January 14 - June 5, 2020. “Underinsured” here means out-of-pocket costs total 10%+ of household income excluding premiums, (5% for households under 200% of the federal poverty line) OR deductible is 5%+ of household income

  • 28% of people with employer-based plans are underinsured, and make up the fastest growing population of under-insured. Yet we are constantly told that people love these plans.
  • 42% of people who get their insurance through the ACA Marketplace are underinsured.  In order to improve their bottom line, the insurance companies continue to find more ways to shift out of pocket costs to the “consumer” (how they see us). Continuing this profit-driven system will perpetuate and grow the underinsured numbers in our country. 
  • The share of the adult population in private health plans with deductibles of $1,000 or more doubled between 2010 and 2020. Some individual plans have deductibles higher than $7000 or more!! 
  • Deductibles have grown faster than income, taking up larger shares of household budgets and leaving more people underinsured.
  • People with inadequate insurance coverage have more problems paying medical bills and leave people with lingering financial issues.
  • Uninsured or underinsured people often avoid or delay getting needed health care and medications, leading to worsening of their condition and potentially larger medical bills down the line.

So what happens when the richest country in the world has a massive number of people with inadequate insurance during a public health crisis?

As of 9/3, we have 6.17 MILLION Coronavirus cases, and 187,000 people have died with no end in sight. 

These tragic numbers should be unacceptable to everyone, especially those who consider themselves patriots. The for-profit system that has contributed to these numbers must be overhauled. 

We must establish a not-for-profit, single-payer system that offers universal coverage and covers all medically necessary care, with no out of pocket costs. Improved Medicare For All is the right policy -- economically, morally, and from a racial justice and public health perspective. 

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