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50 million Americans cannot afford healthcare

The global economic recession has forced millions of American citizens to go without much needed healthcare and prescription medication. Approximately ...

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|Aug 25|magazine6 min read

The global economic recession has forced millions of American citizens to go without much needed healthcare and prescription medication.

Approximately 60 percent of people living in the US rely on health insurance from their employer, but between 2008 and 2010 15 million people lost their job, with nine million people losing their insurance policies too.

As a result, there are now 50 million people living in the country without access to affordable healthcare.

It has also been estimated that 72 percent of Americans are struggling to cope with medical bills or a healthcare-related debt.

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The report, which has been released by the Commonwealth Fund, also found that 60 percent of those who were uninsured during the recession were unable to find an affordable replacement plan.

Meanwhile, 35 percent of the unemployed were refused policies by health insurers.

Under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), people working for companies with 20 or more employees who have the benefit of work-related health insurance can keep their policies for up to 18 months should they lose their job.

However, because unemployed workers must pay the full premium, few people elect to continue their coverage through COBRA.

Sara Collins, the Commonwealth Fund Vice President and co-author of the report, said: “Currently, for a majority of Americans, losing a job also means losing health insurance.

“To make matters worse, once you are unemployed and uninsured, it's nearly impossible to afford COBRA or buy an individual policy,” she added.

“However, when it is fully implemented in 2014, the Affordable Care Act will usher in a new era for the unemployed, who will have a variety of options for comprehensive and affordable health insurance."