A Report from Families USA, May 2009
Hidden Health Tax:
Americans Pay a Premium
While people without health insurance often delay or forgo care, in 2008, the uninsured received $116 billion worth of care from hospitals, doctors, and other providers. Those costs were covered in the following ways:
- The uninsured paid for, on average, more than one-third (37 percent) of the total costs of the care they received out of their own pockets.
- Third-party sources, such as government programs and charities, paid for another 26 percent of that care.
- The remaining amount, approximately $42.7 billion in 2008, was unpaid and constituted uncompensated care.
To make up for this uncompensated care, the costs were shifted to insurers in the form of higher charges for health services. These higher charges are then passed on to families and businesses as higher premiums. The impact of this hidden health tax on annual premiums for families and individuals in 2008 was as follows:
- For family health care coverage, the hidden health tax was $1,017.
- For health coverage provided to single individuals, the hidden health tax was $368.