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Old 12-18-2013, 12:53 PM  
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Medical bills underlie 60 percent of U.S. bankrupts:

Medical bills underlie 60 percent of U.S. bankrupts: study



(Reuters) - Medical bills are behind more than 60 percent of U.S. personal bankruptcies, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday in a report they said demonstrates that healthcare reform is on the wrong track.


More than 75 percent of these bankrupt families had health insurance but still were overwhelmed by their medical debts, the team at Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School and Ohio University reported in the American Journal of Medicine.


"Unless you're Warren Buffett, your family is just one serious illness away from bankruptcy," Harvard's Dr. David Himmelstein, an advocate for a single-payer health insurance program for the United States, said in a statement.


"For middle-class Americans, health insurance offers little protection," he added.


The United States is embarking on an overhaul of its healthcare system, now a patchwork of public programs such as Medicare for the elderly and disabled and employer-sponsored health insurance that leaves 15 percent of the population with no coverage.


The researchers and some consumer advocates said the study showed the proposals under the most serious consideration are unlikely to help many Americans. They are pressing for a so-called single payer plan, in which one agency, usually the government, coordinates health coverage.


"Expanding private insurance and calling it health reform will fail to prevent financial catastrophe for hundreds of thousands of Americans every year," Dr. Sidney Wolfe of the Health Research Group at Public Citizen said in a statement.


About 170 million people get health insurance through an employer but President Barack Obama says soaring healthcare costs hurt the economy and force businesses to drop medical insurance for their workers.


CANCELED COVERAGE


"Nationally, a quarter of firms cancel coverage immediately when an employee suffers a disabling illness; another quarter do so within a year," the report reads.


Obama told Congress on Wednesday he was open to making mandatory health insurance part of the overhaul.


Neither Congress nor Obama are considering the kind of single-payer plan advocated by Public Citizen, Himmelstein and his colleague Dr. Steffie Woolhandler.


"We need to rethink health reform," Woolhandler said. "Covering the uninsured isn't enough.


"Only single-payer national health insurance can make universal, comprehensive coverage affordable by saving the hundreds of billions we now waste on insurance overhead and bureaucracy."


The researchers studied 2,134 random families who filed for bankruptcy between January and April in 2007, before the current recession began.
They used public bankruptcy court records and surveyed 1,032 people by telephone.


"Using a conservative definition, 62.1 percent of all bankruptcies in 2007 were medical; 92 percent of these medical debtors had medical debts over $5,000, or 10 percent of pretax family income," the researchers wrote.


"Most medical debtors were well-educated, owned homes and had middle-class occupations."


The researchers, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said the share of bankruptcies that could be blamed on medical problems rose by 50 percent from 2001 to 2007.


Patients with multiple sclerosis paid a mean of $34,167 out of pocket in 2007, diabetics paid $26,971, and those with injuries paid $25,096, the researchers found.


http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/...5530Y020090604
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Old 12-18-2013, 01:09 PM   #2
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I don't get it. If you have a $5k deductible and you have MS or diabeetus you should probably plan on making sure that you are putting $5k away in your HSA every year.

Actually I take that back. If you have a $5k deductible then you should be making sure your HSA is financed regardless of your situation.
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Old 12-18-2013, 01:17 PM   #3
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Old 12-18-2013, 01:23 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by jiveturkey View Post
I don't get it. If you have a $5k deductible and you have MS or diabeetus you should probably plan on making sure that you are putting $5k away in your HSA every year.

Actually I take that back. If you have a $5k deductible then you should be making sure your HSA is financed regardless of your situation.
For a good many people, putting away $5K every year isn't feasible in the slightest. In large part because healthcare costs have risen dramatically faster than wages.

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Old 12-18-2013, 01:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fairplay View Post
Obamacare will fix this everyone, no worries
Obamacare doesn't address this issue at all.
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Old 12-18-2013, 01:31 PM   #6
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Old 12-18-2013, 01:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fairplay View Post
Obamacare will fix this everyone, no worries
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Originally Posted by jspchief View Post
Obamacare doesn't address this issue at all.
It does, to some degree. Some people without insurance will now be able to get insurance. That will help prevent some of the bankruptcies addressed in the article.

The article also mentions people with MS and diabetes paying $35K out of pocket despite having insurance. There's a good chance they were paying so much out of pocket because because their existing conditions jacked up their premiums or their ailment was exempted, or all they could get was a shitty policy because of their conditions. Obamacare DOES address these issues.
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Old 12-18-2013, 01:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish View Post
For a good many people, putting away $5K every year isn't feasible in the slightest. In large part because healthcare costs have risen dramatically faster than wages.

yep. that chart explains just about every problem in america today. I am secure, I've had my successful times and put it into smart investments etc.

but the dollar has fallen so far, nowdays I am merely a modest future retiree and one health problem could jeopardize that even though I have insurance.

imo this legislation is intended to put (govt) teeth in consequences for not being able to pay for your healthcare. beyond this, it's going to be expensive biz ascending as usual.
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Old 12-18-2013, 01:44 PM   #9
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There's no way that single payer is ever going to pass.

So it's either save/fund HSA or go bankrupt occasionally. I don't see any other solution. Wages aren't going to magically start raising after being flat for 40 years. Medical expenses aren't going to go down with more and more people getting sick/not taking care of themselves.
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Old 12-18-2013, 01:53 PM   #10
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and the stuff being sold as "food" is killing more folks than anything else, imo. that is going to continue to soar with costs going further out of reach for those americans that don't know better.
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Old 12-18-2013, 01:55 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by jspchief View Post
Medical bills underlie 60 percent of U.S. bankrupts: study



(Reuters) - Medical bills are behind more than 60 percent of U.S. personal bankruptcies, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday in a report they said demonstrates that healthcare reform is on the wrong track.

More than 75 percent of these bankrupt families had health insurance but still were overwhelmed by their medical debts, the team at Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School and Ohio University reported in the American Journal of Medicine.

"Nationally, a quarter of firms cancel coverage immediately when an employee suffers a disabling illness; another quarter do so within a year," the report reads.

"Using a conservative definition, 62.1 percent of all bankruptcies in 2007 were medical; 92 percent of these medical debtors had medical debts over $5,000, or 10 percent of pretax family income," the researchers wrote.

"Most medical debtors were well-educated, owned homes and had middle-class occupations."

The researchers, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said the share of bankruptcies that could be blamed on medical problems rose by 50 percent from 2001 to 2007.

Patients with multiple sclerosis paid a mean of $34,167 out of pocket in 2007, diabetics paid $26,971, and those with injuries paid $25,096, the researchers found.
Note: This is not meant to be defense of ACA.

But...... when people whine about not being able to keep their plan, the above is why it's not always a good idea. Because as the article points out, the majority of people's current plans aren't sufficient in saving them from bankruptcy. 75% of these families had insurance, but the insurance they had still bankrupted them. 50% of them were cancelled by their insurance within a year of having disabling illness. And there are people defending those kinds of policies simply because they don't like Obama.

ACA is not the answer, and will not fix this. But clinging to terrible policies that would bankrupt you anyway if something major happened is not a solution either. We need a better solution.
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Old 12-18-2013, 01:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish View Post
Note: This is not meant to be defense of ACA.

But...... when people whine about not being able to keep their plan, the above is why it's not always a good idea. Because as the article points out, the majority of people's current plans aren't sufficient in saving them from bankruptcy. 75% of these families had insurance, but the insurance they had still bankrupted them. 50% of them were cancelled by their insurance within a year of having disabling illness. And there are people defending those kinds of policies simply because they don't like Obama.

ACA is not the answer, and will not fix this. But clinging to terrible policies that would bankrupt you anyway if something major happened is not a solution either. We need a better solution.
How many of those people are simply using the policy provided by their employer?

Obviously we all want the best policy available. But how much more are people willing (or able) to pay for that policy? The cost of healthcare in this country is out of control.
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Old 12-18-2013, 02:01 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Ace Gunner View Post
and the stuff being sold as "food" is killing more folks than anything else, imo. that is going to continue to soar with costs going further out of reach for those americans that don't know better.
And the government is actually subsidizing a lot of the terribleness.
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Old 12-18-2013, 02:17 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by jspchief View Post
How many of those people are simply using the policy provided by their employer?

Obviously we all want the best policy available. But how much more are people willing (or able) to pay for that policy? The cost of healthcare in this country is out of control.
No way to know, but I would guess very few.
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Old 12-18-2013, 02:27 PM   #15
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Add a profit motive at every level of the healthcare industry with consumers' inability to price discriminate and you have our very ****ed up system.
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