One of the primary reasons people end up filing for bankruptcy in the United States today is because they become financially overwhelmed by medical bills. Lacking health insurance coverage, these individuals face insurmountable medical bills with no prospect of ever paying them off.
The consequences of a lack of insurance can be catastrophic. The devastating impact of dealing with medical bills when uninsured demonstrates the crucial need to obtain health insurance coverage if at all possible.
Other statistics underscore the importance of health insurance in the 21st century. According to the United States Census Bureau, the average American visited a health care provider seeking service an average of four to five times annually. The rate of visits held steady since 2000, with very little deviation.
Understandably, individuals in poorer health sought assistance from a health care provider far more often, on average between 11 and 13 times per year. Nonetheless, even those people described as being in excellent health saw a medical provider an average of three times annually, a figure that has remained constant since 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Individuals lacking health insurance fail to take advantage of preventative care options and opportunities at a far higher rate than those people with coverage, the U.S. Census Bureau reports. Only about 13 percent of uninsured individuals received appropriate preventative care annually since 2000.
Preventative assistance is the preferred course of receiving health care inasmuch as it allows a person to avoid more serious medical issues, in many cases. Moreover, taking advantage of preventative care opportunities saves money. Maintaining good health through preventative care is less expensive than seeking medical care and treatment when a problem arises.
Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Health Alliance conducted a joint study in 2009 that concluded over 45,000 deaths in the United States annually can be attributed specifically to a lack of health insurance. The study analyzed data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The research tracked people for a period of ten years to obtain the results reported by Harvard Medical School and the Cambridge Health Alliance.
The number of deaths the Harvard study attributed to lack of appropriate insurance coverage is a larger group of individuals than those who die from some other major diseases, including kidney disease.
Overall, the Harvard study concluded that an uninsured person is at a 40 percent higher risk of dying than is a person with adequate health insurance.