Having too little health insurance can be almost as hard on families as having no coverage at all.
Witnesses delivered that message at a recent House Energy and Commerce oversight subcommittee hearing on the plight of the underinsured.
Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., chairman of the subcommittee, defined an “underinsured person” as one who has a health insurance policy that “does not adequately cover health care costs or high medical expenses.”
“Underinsured individuals traditionally have high out-of-pocket expenses because of high deductibles and co-pays,” Stupak said at the hearing, according to a written version of his remarks posted on the committee’s website.
“In some instances, people are underinsured because they can only afford to purchase a policy,” Stupak said. “In other instances, policyholders believe that they have adequate coverage only to find out that there are limits buried within the policy such as annual caps on the amount the insurance will cover or limits on the number of times the policy holder can receive certain services or treatments.”
No matter how the underinsured are defined, “the sad consequences of being underinsured can be devastating, leading to financial ruin, bankruptcy and making medical decisions based on costs rather than care,” Stupak said.