HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Problem of the Underinsured

Ezra Klein posts a review of the Commonwealth Fund's latest study on the number of underinsured in the United States.  The Commonwealth Fund finds that nearly 14% of the American public do not have sufficient health insurance.  Ezra Klein discusses why underinsurance is a problem and some fo the findings of the Commonwealth Fund.  He writes,

We talk a lot about those without any coverage, but a fair portion are hurtling through life with all the protection afforded by a rusted, rattling Kia. In some ways, these underinsured can be worse off than the uninsured, as they think, and even act, like they have coverage, only to find themselves financially ruined or totally betrayed when a medical calamity hits. . . . 

The Commonwealth Fund estimates that about 14 percent of the population was underinsured in 2007. That sounds about right, and it's a useful reminder that insurance isn't binary, wherein you have it or you don't. Rather, it exists on a continuum, with some folks being totally insured, some folks being half insured and half uninsured, some folks being totally uninsured but having access to emergency rooms, and so forth. This is how American rationing actually manifests.  . . .

Click here for a helpful graphic view of this data.

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