Amid skyrocketing healthcare costs, pharmaceutical companies enjoy record profits while Virginians struggle to afford care. If you’ve deferred care or face insurmountable medical bills, your story can help us work for affordable healthcare insurance in Virginia.
Health insurance premiums in Virginia have increased 130 percent in just six years, while wages have remained stagnant. Nationwide, the proportion of uninsured people who said cost prevented them from seeing a physician increased from 33 percent in 1998 to 39 percent in 2017, according to a recent study in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Of people with health insurance, 11 percent said they skipped care due to out-of-pocket costs in 2017. That’s probably because using the insurance you have is becoming more and more expensive, too. Families with employer-based insurance coverage paid 67 percent more for their health benefits and care in 2018 than in the prior decade, according to a 2019 Kaiser Family Foundation analysis. The reasons, KFF concluded, were spikes in premiums and other forms of cost-sharing, such as coinsurance.
Why are costs spinning so out of control? The main culprit is low competition in the marketplace, which allows pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and insurers to charge high prices without checks or balances.
The pandemic is a chance to show our values. Will we just clap for healthcare workers, or will we do whatever it takes to ensure that all Virginians have the basic care necessary for a healthy life?
Even with expanded Medicaid and the state-run healthcare exchange created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many working Virginians still lack healthcare. When people lose their jobs and the insurance those jobs provide—a situation facing many Virginians during the pandemic—they often don’t qualify for Medicaid yet can’t afford COBRA or the options on the ACA exchange.
We’re working to make healthcare more accessible by lowering health insurance premiums, coinsurance and prescription drug costs.