A survey released today by the Commonwealth Fund underscores the need for states to hold steady in their commitment to health insurance programs such as Medicaid and CHIP while families struggle to find solid footing in the aftermath of the recession. It also provides solid evidence that 2014 and full implementation of the Affordable Care Act can't come soon enough for those trying to find stable, affordable health insurance coverage that won't disappear when they lose a job or become sick or injured.
The Commonwealth Fund 2010 Biennial Health Insurance Survey found that about 9 million people lost their jobs and their health benefits last year putting their financial security and access to health care at risk.
The survey also found:
- Few affordable insurance options are available for the newly uninsured. Because access to Medicaid coverage for adults is limited in most states and few people enroll in COBRA, many have had to turn to the individual market to meet their health needs.
- Most adults who tried to buy health insurance on the individual market faced roadblocks such as higher premiums or benefit exclusions due to a pre-existing condition. Many were turned down.
- Seventy-five million adults did not get needed health care in 2010 (a 60 percent increase from 2001). This included insured adults struggling to pay for higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs as well as uninsured adults.
- Seventy-three million people reported problems paying their medical bills or were paying off medical debt, up from 58 million in 2005. Of those, 22 million were unable to pay for basic necessities like food, heat and rent. About 4 million of them declared bankruptcy.