People who have health insurance have less health-related financial stress. That’s a not-so surprising finding from a recent survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The C.D.C. looked at data from more than 370,000 people collected through the National Health Interview Survey. It found that in the six months after the introduction of the Affordable Care Act in January 2014, the percentage of people under age 65 who were in families having problems paying medical bills was lower than it had been before — 17.8 percent vs. 19.4 percent in 2013. Smaller reductions in financial strain from medical bills had occurred in prior years, perhaps because of slow improvements in the economy after the end of the Great Recession.
The C.D.C.’s findings are consistent with another recent survey by the Commonwealth Fund. It found that the percentage of adults experiencing trouble with a medical bill or medical debt declined to 35 percent in 2014 from 41 percent in 2012. The evidence is clear and while it doesn’t offer complete financial security to everyone, health insurance expansion has decreased financial strain. Financial security, after all, is the point of insurance. Though we might expect more from health insurance expansion — like improvements in health as well — at least it reduces financial strain, even if incompletely.
When we come across studies and surveys like the preceding, it reaffirms the need for organizations like the Healthcare Assist Foundation. This is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization I launched earlier with the mission of providing quality health insurance to those with financial and medical needs. For hospitals, administrators and medical providers, Healthcare Assist provides a turn-key solution to help cover costs of the uninsured. Healthcare Assist addresses the obstacles preventing people from obtaining quality healthcare. These obstacles include lack of financial resources and lack of education about government subsidies and assistance. Healthcare Assist helps address these obstacles by simplifying the process of obtaining quality health insurance for individuals, educating people about government subsidies, coordinating government subsidy programs, and offering financial assistance to help cover high cost premiums.
Access the CDC study here: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhis/earlyrelease/probs_paying_medical_bills_jan_2011_jun_2014.pdf
Learn more about the Healthcare Assist Foundation here: http://www.healthcareassist.org/