Number of Uninsured in U.S. Increases
September 20, 2005 -- Fewer employers are providing health insurance for their workers this year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust's 2005 Annual Survey of Employer Health Benefits. The main drop came from smaller companies that said they could not offer coverage because of high premiums.
About 60 percent of businesses said they would offer health care plans in 2005, down from 69 percent in 2000. Since 2000, the number of uninsured adults has grown by more than 6 million, based on U.S. Census Bureau statistics for 2004. People who earn less are especially vulnerable because their health insurance is more prone to be cut and they are less likely to be able to afford their own coverage.
The Institute of Medicine estimates that at least 18,000 Americans die prematurely each year because they lack health insurance. This is just one of many consequences that the IOM found and presented in a series of reports looking at uninsurance and its effects on individuals, families, and society as a whole. The IOM recommends that by 2010 everyone in America should have health insurance, and in its report Insuring America's Health: Principles and Recommendations, it offers policy-makers a set of guiding principles and a checklist to help them compare and judge proposals to extend coverage.