Working Uninsured Is on the Rise

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

May 3, 2006

A new study shows more Americans with middle incomes do not have health insurance. This is causing problems for the uninsured, as well as for hospitals.

Janet Hampton has no health insurance. Her husband, who is a diabetic, lost his job and Janet cannot afford to pay for insurance on her church salary.

"When the co-pay came out and your eyes bulged out because it was so expensive, then I knew, yeah, we can not afford insurance," said Hampton.

Janet Hampton joined the growing number of uninsured Americans. A new study shows uninsured Americans with moderate to middle income rose to 41% in 2005. That's up from 28% without coverage in 2001. But uninsured or not, people have medical problems.

For most, that means they're either going into debt in order to pay the medical bills or they're not going to the doctor at all.

"Because you don't have that means, you can't do it, so okay, I'll do without and hope for the best," said Hampton.

But doctors said if people are not getting medical attention when they need it, it usually leads to more expensive health problems in the future. When the uninsured go to the hospital, the health care system eats the cost.

"There can be other options and the Charlottesville Free Clinic is one of them," said Erika Viccellio, the Executive Director of the Charlottesville Free Clinic.

In Albemarle County there is only one place that uninsured working residents like Janet Hampton can go: the Charlottesville Free Clinic. All they ask for is a minimum three dollar donation for prescriptions.

The clinic is a non-profit agency that gets support primarily from donations.

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