Blog & News
The Burden of UnderinsuranceMay 06, 2009:
February 2, 2009. I was in Topeka, Kansas on January 23 to present our new state-level estimates of "underinsurance." I was invited by Gina Maree, Director of Health Care Finance and Organization of the Kansas Health institute (KHI), to be the keynote speaker for a day-long convening on the issues related to those who have health insurance but whose coverage is inadequate to meet their health care needs.
I provided the dry academic perspective of defining and measuring underinsurance (click to view the presentation) but the impact of the underinsured was clearly relayed by a panel of three Kansas citizens who faced significant financial distress because of inadequate health insurance coverage. The main message was, "we thought we had good insurance," However, with copayments or coinsurance for every provider visit, out-of-pocket spending can quickly add up when one experiences a serious health condition. See the KHI report about the panel.
The personal stories remind us all about the importance of having health insurance coverage, but also about the need to have adequate coverage. Amazingly, we know very little about the adequacy of private health insurance coverage in the U.S.
Lynn Blewett, Ph.D.