Care for the uninsured who don't pay or are covered by public programs like Medicaid will cost the average family $922 more in premiums in 2005, and that figure will rise to $1,502 by 2010, Families USA said in a report. The extra premium cost for a family with employer-sponsored insurance was the highest in New Mexico at $1,875, but topped $1,500 in Arkansas, Montana, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia. Medicaid cuts will worsen the burden by increasing the number of uninsured, Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack said. Read the report.
A separate study by the Commonwealth Fund found that U.S. employers spent $31 billion in 2004 to provide healthcare coverage to dependents and $150 billion to cover their own workers. About 16 million of the nearly 36 million Americans who did not receive coverage through their employers were covered as dependents. Some 22 million Americans lacked coverage because their employers didn't offer health benefits, but 11.2 million declined to accept the coverage offered by their employers, according to the study, which was published in the journal Inquiry. Read the abstract. -- by Tony Fong