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A recent revealed that 60% of bankruptcies in this country are filed due to overwhelming medical bills. What’s incredible is that of those bankruptcies 75% of the filers have health insurance!  This revelation speaks volumes to those who insist the insurance industry needs no overhaul. Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School and Ohio University participated in this report and the results were published in the American Journal of Medicine. Dr. David Himmelstein, an advocate of a U.S. insurance overhaul and a member of the Harvard Medical School staff says that those of us without a bank account to rival Warren Buffet are only “a serious illness away from bankruptcy”. He goes so far to say that health insurance offers little, if any, protection for middle-class America. A. Harrison Barnes, founder of agrees, “Employers are finding themselves in the position of attempting to cover expensive insurance premiums for their employees without breaking their own banks”.

Other findings in this study include:

  • Current legislation currently being debated on Capital Hill will not likely help a vast majority of Americans.
  • Expanding private insurance won’t prevent financial catastrophe for hundreds of thousands of Americans.
  • Of the 150 million Americans who have health insurance through their employers, many will find themselves with none by year’s end due to employers cutting their own costs.
  • 28% of all insurance companies cancel coverage immediately after a disabling illness occurs and is filed, another 25% do so within the twelve months following the claim.

No one is immune from bankruptcy, either. The study found that most were educated, owned their homes and had successful careers. Further, the numbers reflect a 50% increase from bankruptcies filed in 2001. A. Harrison Barnes says those in the job market in search of new careers will still likely have the opportunity to participate in employer sponsored insurance policies; however, the days of generous policies and low co-pays are past us.

For many who were asked to pay thousands of dollars after the insurance paid, such as those with injuries or who were diagnosed with Diabetes or other illnesses, the payments were just too much. Many hospitals and physicians asked patients to make payments that rivaled their automobile or in some instances, those that surpassed even the patient’s mortgage. Barnes goes on to say many of the  job applicants on are looking for part time or temp positions as they continue to struggle in the current economy while also trying to keep their medical payments current. He goes on to say there are many part time positions and temp positions available as employers see this as a way to offset their own expenses.

President Obama continues to work on solutions to the ever-deepening concerns and fears for health care in this country. Until these problems are met head on and with a consistent solution across the board that will address insurance, bankruptcies and job cuts, these numbers won’t soon be declining.

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