Thursday, Jul. 30, 2009

If You Are Uninsured

15% lack any type of coverage

Current Situation: People without insurance typically put off basic medical care and end up in emergency rooms when they get sick. They are often less healthy and more likely to develop chronic diseases, the costs of which must be absorbed by the entire health-care system.

How Reform Could Affect You
The upside: Expansion of the Medicaid program could cover large ranks of the uninsured. Those forgoing insurance now because of the cost could be eligible for federal subsidies to purchase private insurance or buy into a public health-insurance plan — if one existed.

The downside: If the government requires individuals to have insurance but does not require employers to provide it, the working uninsured will have to shop for insurance on their own. Plus, some would be too poor to buy insurance but not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid or a government subsidy.