In 2008 the percentage of people covered by private health insurance was 66.7%; people covered by employment-based health insurance decreased to 58.5%, and people covered by government health insurance programs increased to 29.0%.
And what's worse - the census data for 2008 does not account for any loss of insurance due to the 9 Million jobs that have been lost since this recession began at the end of 2008. Not those people who are unemployed. Not any of their dependents who were previously relying on that worker's coverage for themselves.
What those figures don't tell you are the number of people who are UNDERINSURED. There's no formal definition of what it means to be "underinsured" but a generally accepted consensus is when any of the following situations exist:
- Medical expenses greater than 10 percent of annual income
- An annual income less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level and medical expenses greater than 5 percent of annual income
- Health plan deductibles equal to or greater than 5 percent of annual income
I, and my family fall into this category.
This is a far cry from the union-provided insurance coverage we had through Pop as a kid. Where all we had to do was enter "Blue Cross" and our local # on the paperwork and everything was taken care of. Never a hassle. Never a copay. Never a complaint.
This results in huge overhead for our doctors - they have to keep people on staff to do nothing but deal with the insurance coverage/billing issues. It results in huge administrative fees for our insurance company. That last quote from Regence for our company? Their administration fees ALONE were 25 cents/ every premium dollar spent. Compare this to Medicare - a government run program - that somehow manages to do the trick with only a 5 cent/premium dollar administrative overhead.
So when our family's GP began to offer direct contracting, we signed up Mr. Stang and MickeyD in a heartbeat. More on this new "trend" in the next post.