33% of the working population has chronic medical condition such as diabetes or high-blood pressure.  A patient with a chronic condition requires continued and regular access to health care.  However, 20% of these families reported having problems paying their medical bills in 2003.  This is criminal.  Think about the stress this adds to a family.  A parent has diabetes, and yet must struggle to find money to pay for insulin.  This is not a heroin addict looking for a fix; it is an otherwise healthy adult who has a medical condition.  And his medical condition, rather than being a simple monthly expenditure, causes financial problems.
Cross Posted at My Left Wing

However, the story gets worse.  68% of adults with a chronic condition had private health insurance.  And private health insurance is no guarantee of financial security:

Uninsured people with chronic conditions are especially vulnerable to medical bill problems: almost half (45%, or 3 million people) are in families with such problems. However, even people covered by private insurance are not immune to these financial concerns: one in six privately insured people with chronic conditions (16%, or 6.4 million people) live in families with medical bill problems.

These problems with paying medical bills led to other financial problems:

Among working-age adults with chronic conditions whose families had problems paying medical bills in the past year, negative effects on other aspects of family finances are common: 68 percent of their families had problems paying for other necessities, such as food and shelter; 64 percent were contacted by a collection agency; 55 percent put off major purchases; and 50 percent had to borrow money. More than nine in 10 families with medical bill problems faced at least one of these negative effects on family finances, and almost a quarter experienced all four.

Let’s review.  People who have a chronic condition can’t change their condition; they must learn to live with it.  Chronic conditions are pretty common.  Yet having a chronic health condition creates a ton of other financial problems such as paying for food and shelter.

Am I the only one who thinks this system is really screwed up?


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