Since 2000 alone, average family premiums have increased by 98 percent in Connecticut. Photo courtesy of U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.
U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius [on June 26] released a series of new reports on the health care status quo that she said highlight the urgent need for health reform across the nation.
The new reports are available at www.HealthReform.gov and include information on health care cost and quality in all 50 states.
“In states across the country, health care costs are going up and families are struggling to get the quality care they need and deserve,” Secretary Sebelius said.
Each report includes data on:
- The percent increase in family premiums since 2000
- The hidden taxes that individuals and families pay as a result of subsidizing care for the uninsured
- The percent of state residents without insurance
- The overall quality ratings for health care in each state
- The impact of failing to adequately invest in preventative measures that could prevent disease and illness.
“The American people have been calling for reform, and they should not have to wait any longer,” Sebelius said.
“Health reform will assure quality affordable health care for all Americans, lower costs, and give more Americans the choices they deserve. The time for reform is now,” she said.
What the report says about Connecticut
Roughly 2.4 million people in Connecticut get health insurance on the job, and family premiums average $14,365, or about the annual wage for a full-time minimum wage job.
Since 2000 alone, average family premiums have increased by 98 percent in Connecticut.
Household budgets are strained by high costs: 19 percent of middle-income Connecticut families spend more than 10 percent of their income on health care.
High costs block access to care: 9 percent of people in Connecticut report not visiting a doctor due to high costs.
Connecticut businesses and families shoulder a hidden health tax of roughly $700 per year on premiums as a direct result of subsidizing the costs of the uninsured.
Affordable coverage out-of-reach
Nine percent of people in Connecticut are uninsured, and 66 percent of these people are part of families with at least one full-time worker.
The percent of Connecticut workers with employer coverage is declining: from 72 to 68 percent between 2000 and 2007.
Much of the decline is among workers in small businesses. While small businesses make up 76 percent of Connecticut businesses, only 55 percent of these businesses offered health coverage benefits in 2006 – a drop of 7 percent since 2000.
Choice of health insurance is limited in Connecticut. WellPoint Inc. (BCBS) alone constitutes 55 percent of the health insurance market share in Connecticut, with the top two insurance providers accounting for 66 percent.
Choice is even more limited for people with pre-existing conditions. In Connecticut, premiums can vary based on demographic factors and health status, and coverage can exclude pre-existing conditions or even be denied completely.
Connecticut needs more quality/preventative care
The report finds that overall quality of care in Connecticut is rated as “average.”
And that preventative measures that could keep Connecticut residents healthier and out of the hospital are deficient, leading to problems across the age spectrum:
- 13 percent of children in Connecticut are obese.
- 15 percent of women over the age of 50 in Connecticut have not received a mammogram in the past two years.
- 30 percent of men over the age of 50 in Connecticut have never had a colorectal cancer screening.
- 75 percent of adults over the age of 65 in Connecticut have received a flu vaccine in the past year.
Posted June 29, 2009
Related link: Join Obama’s Town Hall at http://www.healthreform.gov/