Analysis finds insured pay higher premiums to cover costs of treating uninsured patients.

Time (3/26, Kingsbury) reports, “American families are already picking up the tab for universal health coverage,” according to a new report by the Center for American Progress (CAP). The analysis found that “families pay, on average, as much as $1,100 extra and individuals $410 extra in healthcare premiums each year in order to cover the cost of treatment to uninsured patients. … That amounts to as much as eight-percent higher premiums.” Time points out that the new report “bases its projections on 2005 census data,” which means, “amid the current economic downturn,” this “hidden tax” could be higher than the findings suggest. Notably, a recent Families USA report found that “about 87-million people — roughly one in three Americans — went without health insurance for some period between 2007 and 2008.” Meanwhile, the CAP report estimates that without reform, “families will be paying $1,300 in additional costs annually by 2013.” But taxing “employer-provided health benefits, which some government officials estimate could provide up to $200 billion in additional tax revenues for national healthcare,” may not be the answer. A new report by Economic Policy Institute “shows that implementing such a tax may actually increase the ranks of the uninsured and raise premiums for people with coverage.”

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