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How the uninsured affect the insured

By Erin Kelly,

09.28.2011

If you have insurance, you might not give a second thought to those without it. Think uninsurance doesn’t affect you? Think again. According to a new study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, when there are high uninsurance rates in a community, there are adverse effects for those who are insured.

The study, authored by researchers from the RAND Corporation and UCLA found that high rates of uninsurance affect those with insurance in the following ways:

  • Insured people in communities with high rates of uninsurance are less likely to have a regular source of care;
  • Insured people in communities with high rates of uninsurance are more likely to report delaying or forgoing care; and
  • Insured people in communities with high rates of uninsurance are more likely to report being less satisfied with the care they receive

So what’s the takeaway? Researchers found that it’s not just those without insurance who suffer the ill effects of going without health coverage, but those who do have coverage and live in areas with high rates of uninsurance suffer, as well.

Furthermore, a Families USA report showed that the cost of health care for the uninsured is often passed on to people with insurance in the form of higher premiums. The report found that the average insured family paid an additional $1,017 in premiums in 2008 to cover the cost of care for the uninsured.

This is why the Affordable Care Act is so important: The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that it will reduce the number of uninsured Americans by more than 30 million . Already, we’ve seen that nearly 1 million young adults have gained coverage thanks to the new law. And as more provisions are rolled out, such as tax credits to help families and individuals buy insurance, more and more Americans will finally have access to quality, affordable health care. And all of us—even those of us with health insurance—will be better off because of it.