Saturday, December 29, 2007

Health Care Headache

Affordable Medical Care is a really big issue in this country. According to the latest 2006 Census Bureau figures, 15% of America does not have Health Insurance. 11% of America's children do not have health insurance. These numbers are on the rise. While they may seem like small percentages, even those with health insurance are finding that rates are rising far in excess of inflation. According to a recent Kaiser Family Fund and Health Research Survey health insurance premiums have risen at double-digit rates since 2000, and have increased by 73% in the last five years, and health care spending reached 16% of GDP, the highest level in our nation’s history. According to a December 2nd, 2007 press release, the CDC summarizes the findings of "Health, United States, 2007" by stating that nearly one in five Americans say they can’t afford needed health care.

In Nevada alone, 451,000 people are without some form of Medical Insurance (about 18% of the population) This, you will note, is higher than the average State's unisured rate, in fact 35 states do a better job of getting affordable health insurance to their citizens. According to the Health Insurance Resource Center which sites a United Health Foundation Survey, Nevada:
  • Is only the 38th healthiest state to live in

  • Has the worst childhood immunization program in the country.

  • Ranks 45th in the nation for quality of prenatal care.

  • Is 17th in the nation for infant mortality.
  • Has the highest meth use of people 12 and older.

From time to time people inquire about free or low cost Medical Clinics in the area. There are a few, and the Southern Nevada Health District has an excellent list of them including contact information found here. Be sure to bookmark this site! These treament facilities specifically exist for the unisured or the underinsured, and there are a number of services available including Children's Services, Dental Drug Treatment, Family Planning General Medical Care, Health Education, HIV/AIDS Homeless ServicesHospitals, Immunizations, Medical Equipment, Medicare Services Mental Health, Pediatric Services, Rape Counseling, Referral Services, Senior Services, Sexually Transmitted Disease Treatment, Social Services Transportation Assistance, and Women's Health.

Many states also have programs for children. A complete list can be found on the Health and Human Services Insure Kids Now Website. Nevada's State Program for Children is called Nevada Check Up. Visit this site or call 1 (877) 543-7669 to find out eligibility requirements.

For the Injured Nevada Worker there is the Governor's Office for Consumer Health Assistance Bureau for Hospital Patients that is established to provide a single point of contact for consumers and injured workers to assist them in understanding their rights and resonsibilities under Nevada law and health care plans, including industrial insurance policies.

For those looking for affordable prescriptions, which is a program that connects qualified, low-income people with discount prescription drugs, direct from the pharmaceutical manufacturer.

Last, but not least, if you are unsure where to turn, you can always use the Nevada Help Line a free referral service for all Nevada residents. Access it by dialing 211.

Please feel free to add anything I've missed.