Sunday, October 23, 2005
The New York Times continues with its health care series today with a piece examining the high cost of health care, even for those with insurance. The Times reports,
Never have patients had so many medical options to extend, enrich or alter their lives. But these new options are expensive, and with them has come a change for which many Americans - even those with health insurance - are financially ill prepared.
After decades in which private and government insurance covered a progressively larger share of medical expenses, insurance companies are now shifting more costs to consumers, in the form of much higher deductibles, co-payments or premiums. At the same time, Americans are saving less and carrying higher levels of household debt, and even insured families are exposed to medical expenses that did not exist a decade ago. Many, like the Dorsetts, do not realize how vulnerable they are until the bills arrive.
Lawyers and accountants say that for the more than 1.5 million American families who filed for bankruptcy protection last year, the most common causes were job loss and medical expenses. New bankruptcy legislation, which went into effect Oct. 17, requires middle-income debtors to repay a greater share of their debt.