Layoffs = No Insurance or Crappy Insurance

News that should surprise no one: North Carolina has the fastest growing population of people without health insurance.  Since North Carolina is also a leader in lost jobs this isn't exactly shocking news.  The report referenced in the story contains an estimate of 1.75 million people in the state who don't have health insurance.  The US Census shows North Carolina's population in 2007 as 9,061,032 so that means that the percentage of people in North Carolina without health insurance is roughly 19%.  

As scary a number as 19% is, I'm wondering how many of the other 81% are under-insured?  I can tell you from first hand experience that it's very expensive to buy insurance that offers decent coverage and I suspect that there are plenty of people who have purchased what can only be termed "crappy" insurance in order to keep their premiums affordable.  Having purchased some crappy insurance myself in an effort to battle premiums that jumped 30% one year I can tell you what the results were:
  • Our insurer basically disputed every claim.
  • Our riders that were supposed to provide a certain number of office visits at no additional cost basically did nothing.  We still ended up paying out of pocket. 
  • Our coverage was almost impossible to understand which means we started avoiding the doctor for fear that it would cost us $120 to find out one of us had a simple soar throat. 
  • Luckily we didn't experience any major illnesses, but if we'd kept that coverage I think we might have ended up with undiagnosed illnesses because we tried to avoid the doctor.  

Basically we started to view our insurance as "armageddon coverage", only to be used in case of a catastrophe and I'm not entirely confident it would have covered us even in those circumstances.  My point is that if even 10% of the 81% of insured North Carolinians has similar coverage then we're probably looking at close to 700,000 people that could be living with easily treatable illnesses that could grow into major health crises because they're afraid to see the doctor and who might not then be covered adequately when they end up in the hospital.  Add that to the 1.75 million people without any insurance and you have a really frightening number of people at risk for financial devastation if they get sick.

1 thought on “Layoffs = No Insurance or Crappy Insurance

  1. Leatherwing

    I currently have a crappy policy. As a contractor, I had the choice of buying into the company policy (which seemed a bad idea for an expected 2 month contract) or getting my own. The only thing remotely affordable was a high deductible policy that is just a few dollars a month less than my mortgage.
    And while I personally oppose the idea of the government providing health care coverage, I really get upset when they pick and choose which group of citizens they will help – Obama’s plan to provide 65% assistance on COBRA payments leaves out those of us that never had a shot at COBRA. Personally, I wish insurance would be done away with (except catastrophic). Then the cost of a doctor visit would drop to what the market will bear. The current prices reflect the idea that everyone has insurance anyway, so they’ll never feel the pain of the payment.

    Reply

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