Welcome to the club

I wonder how many people drained their savings to cover COBRA payments because they thought they’d soon find a new job. That’s why the new healthcare law, as flawed as it is, is a big step toward building a safety net:

The millions of Americans who lost their jobs and their health benefits during the recession often had no way to regain affordable health coverage, leaving them and their families at risk of financial ruin, according to a new report from The Commonwealth Fund.

The spate of layoffs during the recession catapulted 9 million more Americans ā€” or 57% of those who had had health insurance in a job that evaporated over the last two years ā€” into the ranks of the millions already uninsured.
In addition, 19 million people anxiously seeking private coverage over the last three years were either turned down or could not find a plan that was affordable and met their needs, the report found.

The Biennial Health Insurance Survey also found a whopping 60% increase in skipped care due to cost in the past decade. The survey reported that medical debt problems and out-of-pocket spending costs were on the rise as well, with 29 million Americans using up their entire life savings to pay for medical bills and millions more unable to afford food, heat and rent due to medical payments.

“The report tells the story of the continuing deterioration of health care accessibility, efficiency, safety and affordability over the past decade,” Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis said during a noon press conference Tuesday. All this despite the fact that the United States spends more than any other country on health care, she added.

“Most recently it has failed the millions of Americans who lost their jobs during the recession and lost health benefits as well, leaving them with no place to turn for affordable health care coverage,” Davis said.

The Commonwealth Fund report focused on the struggles of the 43 million adults under 65 who have lost their health insurance along with their job over the past two years.

“The silver lining is that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has already begun to bring relief to families,” Davis added. “Once the new law is fully implemented, we can be confident that no future recession will have the power to strip so many Americans of their health security.”

3 thoughts on “Welcome to the club

  1. When the COBRA subsidy ended I had to stop my insurance coverage; the premium was going up something like $100 to boot. But a few months later I began to get care at a local municipal hospital and I’m applying for Medicaid. At least I’m getting my medications.

  2. when I changed jobs, I was given the option of having COBRA until coverage kicked in (typically, there’s a 3-month probationary period with no benefits when you change jobs). I had to say no, because I couldn’t afford it. Which means I can’t afford the asthma medicine I’m supposed to take twice a day, every day, because without insurance, the shit costs $199/month.

    I gotta hit those canadian pharmacies.

  3. I just lost my job and now I am facing decisions regarding COBRA. It sure is EXPENSIVE. I thought about getting a catastrophic plan since I just had a complete physical and everything looks like it is where it should. My primary physician is very reasonable in the fees w/o insurance. My partner and I have even talked about getting married (which we really never considered because neither of us have kids) just so I can get insurance. Oh, my!!! I have never in my adult life had to worry about health care and at 51 I am really concerned.

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