Saturday, August 20, 2005

Do you really have health insurance?
TPMCafe's Warren Reports blog grew out of the bankruptcy bill debate. It's a shame they don't post more often because their focus--the financial difficulties of the middle class--seems especially important these days, and especially relevant to Democrats' chances of regaining control of the legislative agenda. The damage Republicans have done to the well-being of the working middle class, the backbone of the economy, is as demonstrable as it is inexcusable.

The newest Warren Reports post tells us what we fear is true: we may not be as insured as we think we are.
Because of soaring healthcare costs, more consumers are turning to associations — including obscure trade groups, unions and chambers of commerce — to buy health insurance at discounted group rates. Though some associations offer legitimate policies, others have hidden clauses that cap benefits at low amounts so that policyholders can face unforeseen rate increases with little financial protection in a major illness, critics said.
Experts estimate that up to 10 million people nationwide are covered by such policies. The plans may promise 100% coverage, but the fine print may set a cap on costs, such as $200 a day for a hospital visit, which at some hospitals today can run $3,000 or more.

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