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How much do the uninsured cost the insured?

May 28, 2009 |  9:54 am

The question refers specifically to the amount passed along via healthcare premiums, not less tangible factors. And the answer is: $1,017 a year for family coverage and $368 for an individual policy.

Those are the figures in a new report from healthcare advocacy group Families USA. The introduction states:

"As the number of Americans without health insurance continues to rise, so too do the costs borne by those who have coverage, who face what might be called a 'hidden health tax.' Private health insurance premiums are higher, at least in part, because uninsured people who receive health care often cannot afford to pay the full amount themselves. The costs of this uncompensated care are shifted to those who have insurance, ultimately resulting in higher insurance premiums for businesses and families."

That's not to say the uninsured are gleefully living it up. The report says that the uninsured directly pay for more than 37% of the total costs of their care. Government, charities and other third-party sources pay for another 26%. The rest is uncompensated care.

Those are the costs eventually handed off to families and businesses in the form of higher premiums. See the numbers above.

-- Tami Dennis

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