A recent report from the Institute of Medicine reveals that the number of people with health insurance continues to drop. Even those with basic coverage are finding that the cost of care is becoming unaffordable. Read the following excerpt to learn more about the growing problem. To read the report in full go to the Institute of Medicine’s website at www.ion.edu and click on the tab entitled recent reports.
The evidence shows more clearly than ever that having health insurance is essential for people’s health and well-being, and safety-net services are not enough to prevent avoidable illness, worse health outcomes, and premature death, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine. Moreover, new research suggests that when local rates of uninsurance are relatively high, even people with insurance are more likely to have difficulty obtaining needed care and to be less satisfied with the care they receive.
The number of people who have health insurance continues to drop, and employment-based coverage–the principal source of insurance for the majority of Americans–is eroding, a situation that is getting worse with the current economic crisis, the report notes. In 2007, nearly one in 10 American children and one in five non-elderly adults had no health insurance. The average amount employees paid per year for family coverage in an employer-sponsored plan rose from $1,543 in 1999 to $3,354 in 2008. If there is no intervention, the decline in health insurance coverage will continue, the report concludes.
The committee that prepared the report called on the president and Congress to begin efforts immediately to achieve health coverage for all Americans. It also urged steps to reduce the costs of care and the rate at which healthcare spending is rising to make coverage sustainable for everyone.