A recent PBS discussion between Ron Pollack with Families USA, healthcare blogger Robert Lasczewski, and Thomas Mann with the Brookings Institute ranged over several significant reform topics, including the cost of the uninsured. Here is an excerpt from Pollack’s remarks:
If we fail to link improved coverage affordability and expansion with a prohibition on pre-existing condition exclusions, the older and sicker portion of the population will enroll in coverage and the younger and healthier part of the population will drop such coverage — thereby leading to a skyrocketing premium cost spiral.
Doing this will provide significant relief to people and businesses that purchase health coverage today. This is because premiums for health coverage contain a “hidden health tax” that substantially increases the premiums to underwrite the uncompensated health care costs of the uninsured. A report by Families USA, based on data developed by the well-respected actuarial firm Milliman, Inc., found that the average premium for family health coverage contained an average “hidden health tax” of $1,017 in 2008 — a figure which is no doubt higher today. Hence, the extended health coverage to more than 30 million uninsured people, as envisioned in the Senate and House bills, will provide premium relief for America’s families as well as businesses that currently offer coverage for their workers.