A report from a nonprofit, nonpartisan health care advocacy group finds Iowa families pay about 500-dollars a year more to cover the costs of people who don’t have health insurance. Ron Pollack, executive director of Families U-S-A, says we’re all paying higher premiums to bail out the uninsured. He calls it alarming. Pollack says “This big and growing problem about the uninsured is not simply a concern only of the people who don’t have health coverage, it’s a concern for all of us because all of us pay for it, especially businesses and workers who have health insurance.” His group is recommending a few courses of action that may help remedy the situation, starting with businesses that don’t provide health care coverage for employees. Pollack says businesses need to be encouraged to provide coverage for their workers, in addition to providing a strong safety net, so people who can’t get coverage through their jobs or who can’t afford it, can hook up with a program like Medicaid which provides coverage for those who can’t get it on their own. He says the situation continues to worsen nationwide and in Iowa. Pollack says almost 370-thousand people in Iowa don’t have health insurance and when they get health care, that care is paid for through the premiums of people who do have health insurance. He says Iowans pay more every year to cover the uninsured, but not as much as elsewhere. The study finds Iowa families pay an additional 518-dollars in health care premiums every year to cover those who don’t have insurance. Nationwide, the figure is 922-dollars. He says Iowans’ costs are lower because a higher percentage of people here have health insurance than in other parts of the country, while Iowa also does a better job of promoting the use of public programs like Medicare and Medicaid which keep the costs from being passed back onto the premiums. The full study, “Paying a Premium: The Added Cost of Care for the Uninsured,” is online at “www.familiesusa.org”.
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