POLICY: The financial castrophe of uninsurance will get worse

Just another reminder about the perversity of our insurance system. Steve Lopez in the LA Times writes a about a 57 year undergoing chemo whose COBRA benefits are running out . Whether or not chemotherapy is always the right option in these cases (and you’ll get plenty of arguments about that here on THCB), there is no excuse for a system where financial catastrophe will be visited on families by the random luck of getting sick.

But of course this problem is growing rapidly. Health Affairs confirms today with an Urban Institute study what’s well known—health insurance coverage has been declining while the economy has been expanding. This is the complete opposite of the 1990s, where the numbers covered by employer-provided health insurance increased as the economy improved.

So of course in the coming (or present?) recession the horror stories like that of the teacher and those Jon Cohn wrote about in Sick are just going to multiply.

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4 replies »

  1. John, do you mean he can convert to an individual plan? Will that conversion guarantee his premium of 102% of his previous group plan or will it just mean he can get insurance at whatever the insurance company rates him at, pre-existing and all? By the way someone receiving COBRA may(will/probably) have to pay the premium portion formally paid for by their employer (102%). If they qualify for an 18 month extension (disability) they will pay 150% of the previous premium. And don’t you dare miss a premium payment.
    All this without employment and a paycheck, and for this COBRA recipient, with cancer as well.
    In the meantime lenders who lied and participated in loan fraud and deception and borrowers who either did not want to know about future affordability and consequences or were actively involved in the fraud are now getting a federal bailout – that’ll teach them a lesson. Only in America will we financially bury an individual for an uncontrollable health event but resurrect a housing industry that perpetrated it’s own fall.

  2. Someone needs to tell this fellow to pursue his “Guaranteed Conversion” option………

  3. It looks like Obama has a plan to lower everyones health care “bill” by an average of $2400. I do not how that will help everyone it is certainly better than nothing.

  4. Nothing to fear, Republicans and Democrats are giving us all $600 to spend on healthcare, that will surely turn this economy around and brighter times are ahead. Don’t you just love an election year?
    But of course Republicans will argue that the Health Policy Study is flawed and that there is only a small, but temporary, number of people without health coverage. The safety net system’s fine thanks, just ask all the lenders who are getting bailed out. But what’s really needed is to get rid of all those “entitlements”.