Insured Foot Bill for Uninsured Patients' Care

Companies pass along 'hidden health tax' of $1K+ per family
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2009 11:06 AM CDT
Americans are already paying for the uninsured, one group argues.   (Shutterstock)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – If you have health insurance, you’re paying a “hidden tax” to care for the uninsured, says a nonprofit advocating government-backed health care. The group says insurance companies pass on the cost of treating the uninsured to their subscribers, to the tune of $1,017 per family last year, Bloomberg reports. That means everyone from insured individuals to their employers have an interest in government-backed health care, according to Families USA.

One in three Americans under age 65 went uninsured at some point during 2007-08. Those 86.7 million people received $116 billion worth of hospital care, according to Families USA. On average, the uninsured pay 37% of that, with another 26% paid by the government and charities. The rest went unpaid, and hospitals passed along that cost to insurance companies and consumers by raising rates. Insurance companies then raised premiums to compensate.