Washington’s Insurance Commissioner, Mike Kreidler, has released a new report showing the large gap between state residents who have health insurance and those that do not. According to the report, the number of people without health insurance will reach 1 million by the end of this year. Between the periods of 2008 and 2010, the number of those without insurance coverage rose by 180,000. Commissioner Kreidler attributes the problem to a stagnating economy and an aging population.
The report notes that hospitals and health care professionals throughout the state are spending $1 billion each year on serving people without insurance coverage. These losses often trickle down to consumers, who are faced with paying higher premiums. According to the report, families and individuals are paying approximately $1,000 more on insurance coverage each year to compensate for the high rate of those without coverage.
Commissioner Kreidler estimates that roughly 14% of Washington’s populace is currently without health insurance coverage. Kreidler says that the state’s insurance system may begin to spiral out of control within the next two years. Even with the coming health insurance exchanges, the state may still continue to struggle with an uninsured population. Commissioner Kreidler currently has no plans regarding how to fix the problem, but the state’s Department of Insurance will be working with insurers in the coming months to try and find a solution.