Coverage of The Families USA Report on a “hidden tax” in health insurance continued. The Wall Street Journal (5/29, Yoest, subscription required) reports that, according to a report by Families USA, “the average family with health insurance in 2008 paid a ‘hidden health tax’ of $1,017 to cover the healthcare costs of the uninsured.” The report says that “$42.7 billion in care for those without insurance was passed on to health insurers,” which raised premiums to pass on the cost. Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, and Aetna Inc.’s chairman and chief executive, Ronald A. Williams, appeared together at the National Press Club. Williams said that people with private health insurance are “paying for the uncompensated care that these community hospitals have to collect.” He added that “his company’s spending in areas such as health technology had improved health coverage to the extent that it could play a major role in covering the uninsured.”
According to the “Booster Shots” blog of the Los Angeles Times (5/28, Dennis), the report found that “the uninsured directly pay for more than 37 percent of the total costs of their care. Government, charities and other third-party sources pay for another 26 percent.” Bloomberg News (5/28, Gaouette) reports that health-policy consultant Lewin Group, a unit of UnitedHealth Group, Inc., developed the estimate for Families USA. The Detroit Free Press (5/28, Anstett) and the Milwaukee Business Journal (5/28) also covered this story.