Lack of access can be life-changing

June 30, 2008

Access to coverage, especially for individuals and small groups, is a constant issue. So much so that many Americans are taking great steps to change their lifestyles in order to obtain it. Get married to gain access to insurance? Some are doing just that.

Access to coverage, especially for individuals and small groups, is a constant issue. So much so that many Americans are taking great steps to change their lifestyles in order to obtain it. Get married to gain access to insurance? Some are doing just that.

“In the absence of individual mandates or universal coverage to not have health insurance leaves families with significant exposure that can wipe out their full asset base in no time at all,” Henry Loubet, senior vice president/chief strategy officer for Keenan, an insurance brokerage and consulting firm in Torrance, Calif., tells MHE. “I definitely know people who either take jobs in large part due to healthcare coverage or don't leave jobs to avoid losing their health insurance.”

Other major life decisions involved in gaining access to healthcare coverage include changing marital status, retirement age and geographic location.

Loubet hopes that state and federal legislation will ultimately be enacted to provide coverage for all Americans. “In the absence of that and/or finding other ways to level the playing field for insurers the current situation will continue to exist,” he says. “Anxieties will only heighten as healthcare costs continue to rise and other economic considerations such as rising fuel prices, home foreclosures and the like, lead Americans to have to make significant choices about what they can afford to pay for-housing, food or health insurance.”

In California, however, Loubet believes access somewhat less of an issue than other states because of an excellent public hospital and community clinic system in many of the urban areas that serve residents, regardless of their economic situation or insurance status. The same is not the case, however, in rural areas of California, he says.