This story will highlight global issues in healthcare regarding private insurance plans in America. Where roughly 27 million Americans (and counting) are uninsured during a pandemic crisis.
KILLEEN, Texas – As tragedy arises, deep-rooted issues are revealed.
What is the next biggest issue besides not having an immediate cure to a pandemic outbreak? Private healthcare insurance plans.
“My concerns are if they were to contract COVID-19, would they get the same type of care that a person with insurance would receive?” A question weighing heavily on the mind of Stephanie Holder, a mother and wife to two loved ones without health insurance during the coronavirus outbreak.
According to the United States Census, 27.5 million Americans did not have health insurance in 2018. That’s 8.5% of the American population living with the thought of not having immediate access to healthcare. And if they happen to receive access, it’s coming at an overwhelmingly high cost.
Those with a very low-income can qualify for Medicare and are a part of a public health insurance plan funded by the government or state. In other instances, Americans are often stuck with a private insurance plan through their job – if their job offers healthcare benefits. The 2018 numbers: 17.9% of Americans were insured through Medicare; 55.1% of Americans received private health insurance through their job.
So, where does this leave the working class? Not to mention, the self-employed?
Husband and father Mark Holder, and his daughter Hannah Holder, are both without health insurance during the pandemic.
Mark is self-employed, and Stephanie works for a school district. Stephanie’s job only covers her for health insurance, so the rest of the family is on their own. Being self-employed, Mark’s only option is to buy into a private insurance plan if he and his daughter want to be insured.
The problem at hand: private health insurance plans are extremely costly.
With Stephanie and Mark’s combined income, they still fall below what is considered “middle-class” in America and can not afford to buy into a private health insurance plan. But the two make too much money to qualify as “low-income” to receive a public healthcare plan funded by the government or state of Texas. Thus resulting in Mark and Hannah living uninsured.
“It’s a bit worrisome at times,” Mark said about living without health insurance. Mark is considered an essential employee during the pandemic, so COVID-19 has not stopped or slowed down work for him. Though, it might have instilled some fear going to work every day.
“It’s a scary time for all essential workers right now, but when your father is continuing work without being insured, the fear heightens,” Hannah said. “He’s older and insured – he’s one of the most vulnerable ones.”
Mark and Hannah aren’t the only ones living during the pandemic without health insurance.
As of early May, nearly 33 million Americans have filed for unemployment. Remember, many people receive health insurance through their jobs. No job = no health insurance. Unless, you buy into a private health insurance plan.
Which leads to the next issue: if Americans are losing jobs, how can they afford to buy into a private insurance plan?
It’s a domino effect.
As tragedy arises, deep-rooted issues are revealed. The best solution to this issue is for the U.S. to offer universal healthcare.
Universal healthcare would allow every American citizen to receive equal access to healthcare, without going into an overwhelming amount of debt to receive medical treatment.
The Center of Disease Control confirmed 1.42 million Americans have tested positive for COVID-19 as of mid-May.
Business Insider created a chart revealing the difference in costs between someone with and without insurance to be tested and treated for COVID-19.
The chart shows those who are uninsured, and have tested positive and were treated in the hospital for six days, will leave with a medical bill of roughly $65,000. Those who are insured, and have tested positive and were treated in the hospital for six days, will leave with a medical bill of roughly $34,000 – but that doesn’t mean they will owe that much after negotiating with their insurance provider.
Policy Advice referenced one’s quality of life to healthcare access in an article. The article mentioned lack of health insurance leads to increased stress and anxiety over the “what-if’s,” especially during a time of a pandemic.
“I’ve seen other countries go about the outbreak much better than America has. This should be a huge wake-up call for Americans and our future leaders.” Hannah continues, “Everyone deserves equal access to healthcare. It’s a fundamental right as a human-being.”
As Americans, let’s keep in mind the deep-rooted issues we’re eye witnessing today when discussing universal healthcare in the future for the U.S.