The Economic Need for Patient Assistance
According to the US Census Bureau, as of 2010, a staggering 49.9 million Americans are uninsured and living without prescription coverage.1 Lack of insurance continues to leave them without access to the medicines they need. Unfortunately, this is not only a localized problem—it’s a national issue of critical proportions.
While the numbers above are alarming, uninsured rates are even more pronounced among our nation’s minority populations.
According to Kaiser Family Foundation and Families USA, a major gap exists between the insurance coverage and medical care patients have and the level of care they need. The numbers below illustrate this disparity:
What Does This Mean for the Health of the Uninsured?
It means that the uninsured typically wait until their medical conditions become critical before they seek treatment. Within the last 10 years, there has been a 60% increase in the number of Americans who went without health care altogether—skipping doctor visits, prescriptions, and specialist care—as well as declining recommended tests or medical treatments because of high costs.5
Unfortunately, this makes their future treatment more costly and their conditions more complicated to treat. That’s why patient assistance programs are so crucial and why Pfizer is working to assist the uninsured through Pfizer Helpful Answers.
References*: 1. People without health insurance coverage by selected characteristics: 2009 and 2010. US Census Bureau Web site. http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/hlthins/data/incpovhlth/2010/table8.pdf. September 2011. Accessed September 18, 2011.
2. Health insurance coverage status by state for all people: 2010. US Census Bureau Web site. http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstables/032011/health/toc.htm. September 2011. Accessed September 18, 2011 3. Kaiser Family Foundation. The uninsured: A primer. http://www.uiowa.edu/~ibl/documents/KFF-UninsuredPrimer.pdf. October 2009. Accessed August 25, 2011. 4. Families USA. Fact sheet: shortchanged by medical debt. www.familiesusa.org/assets/pdfs/medical-debt-fact-sheet.pdf. November 2009. Accessed August 25, 2011. 5. New health insurance survey: 9 million adults joined ranks of uninsured due to job loss in 2010; few viable health insurance options exist for unemployed. The Commonwealth Fund Web site. http://www.commonwealthfund.org/News/News-Releases/2011/Mar/New-Health-Insurance-Survey.aspx. March 16, 2011. Accessed August 29, 2011.
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