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Health Aff (Millwood). 2004 Jan-Jun;Suppl Web Exclusives:W4-157-67.

Covering the uninsured: what is it worth?

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  • 1Institute of Medicine, Washington, DC, USA.


One out of six Americans under age sixty-five lacks health insurance, a situation that imposes sizable hidden costs upon society. The poorer health and shorter lives of those without coverage account for most of these costs. Other impacts are manifested by Medicare and disability support payments, demands on the public health infrastructure, and losses of local health service capacity. We conclude that the estimated value of health forgone each year because of uninsurance (dollars 65-dollars 130 billion) constitutes a lower-bound estimate of economic losses resulting from the present level of uninsurance nationally.

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