There are many misconceptions about the uninsured. Unfortunately, these myths have become accepted as fact by many people. Please read on so that you will have an accurate picture of our country’s uninsured.
Myth: Most people without insurance don’t have a job—how can they expect to get insurance?
The reality is that most people who are uninsured are working adults (80%) who simply cannot afford insurance. Most of these working adults are employed by small businesses in their community. These small businesses also feel that they cannot afford the premiums for their workers, so it is not offered.
Myth: A lot of the uninsured are illegal immigrants; they shouldn’t be covered by U.S. policies anyway.
Immigrants represent only about 20% of the uninsured population in the U.S.
Myth: There are plenty of free clinics and other free health care options.
Only about 25% of uninsured families receive care from free or reduced cost clinics. Most people without insurance will just go without care, which makes their problems more expensive when they finally do seek care. Federal programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare, have guidelines that not everyone meets: either someone must be elderly, disabled (as defined by the federal government), a child, or pregnant.
Myth: All children in the U.S. have some access to some type of health insurance.
Unfortunately, this is not true. About 10% of all children in the U.S. do not have health insurance. Half of these children live in two-parent households. Most states do have programs for children; however, outreach to these families is difficult. Uninsured children run the same risks as uninsured adults: less access to all levels of care: dental, vision, prescription drug, and preventive care.
Myth: We can’t afford to cover even a significant portion of the uninsured, much less all people.
Because the uninsured and the government pay for a large share of their health care costs already, the amount of additional health spending to cover all of the uninsured is relatively small. Most proposals to expand health insurance do not account for the tax dollars currently being used to care for the uninsured.
Health Assist Tennessee gratefully acknowledges Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured for much of the information provided on this page.