Intended for healthcare professionals


A quarter of US adults with health insurance are underinsured, report finds

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 22 May 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2786
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

About 31 million US adults who have health insurance still face such high out-of-pocket expenses or have such high deductibles that many struggle to pay their medical bills and forgo care because of cost, a new report says.1

Most Americans, more than 150 million, get their health insurance through their employers, and in recent years many companies have been shifting the cost of coverage to their employees in the form of higher deductibles and copayments. Insurance plans purchased by individuals also often have high out-of-pocket expenses and deductibles.

For the new report the researchers, from the independent health policy foundation the Commonwealth Fund, looked at how many US adults with insurance faced such high out-of-pocket costs or deductibles—the amount they must pay before their insurer starts paying for care—that they were essentially “underinsured.” Data from the report came from the Commonwealth Fund’s biennial health insurance survey for 2014. Sara R Collins, the fund’s vice president for healthcare coverage and access, was the paper’s lead author.

Collins and her colleagues considered respondents …

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