The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released a new report recently. The report highlights the existing financial problem inherent in the health care system for those unable to afford appropriate insurance coverage. The HHS found that uninsured families are only able to afford 12% of the total cost of hospital stays and medical services.
While the findings may not be surprising when attributed to low-income families, the report specifically singled out high-income families, showing that medical costs may be getting out of hand.
Of the country’s 50 million uninsured, 95% cannot afford hospital stays of any length. The bills that go without payment are often mitigated by insurers raising rates on coverage. The study shows that an annual increase of $73 billion in coverage rates and medical services is shifted to those who have insurance and employers offering health benefits.
The report also found that the vast majority of those 50 million uninsured Americans have little to no savings. Financial assests amongst high-income families, those that make 400% more than the federally established poverty level, hover somewhere around $3,000. The lack of savings shows that most uninsured families are ill-prepared to handle the financial implications of a health emergency.
“Health insurance is critical in helping protect families,” says HHS assistant secretary for planning and evaluation, Sherry Glied. “This report shows that even high-income families are struggling to meet the high costs of health care.”