Medicine: Premiums & Benefits

Americans spent an average of $95 each on medical care in 1958, the Health Insurance Institute reported this week. Breakdown (in billions) of the $16.7 billion total: doctors, $4.8; hospitals, $4.5; prescriptions and other medicines and appliances, $4.4; dentists, $1.7; miscellaneous (including private nurses, nursing homes, chiropractors, eyeglasses), $1.3. In addition, the public laid out $5.9 billion for health and hospitalization premiums, got back $4.7 billion in benefits. The insurance covered 123 million people for hospital expenses, in million for surgical, 17 million for major medical.

After refusing to write new life insurance for generations of heart-disease victims, the insurance industry is...

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