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The high cost of health insurance could kill you

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April 9, 2008

Albany-  The high cost of health care could kill you. Nearly 18 percent of Georgians have no health insurance.

A new study shows lack of insurance can prove deadly and about a thousand Georgians in 2006 died because they lacked health care. A report titled Dying for Coverage in Georgia from Families USA estimates 19 uninsured Georgians between 25 and 64 die each week because of a lack of care.

"The studies have shown clearly and this one included that people who don't have health insurance they use the ER's for their source of care and that is not continuity of care, said Dr. Jacqueline Grant, District Health Director.

Dr. Jacqueline Grant calls it fragmented care, what's done at clinics or the public health department where seeing the same doctor repeatedly isn't the case and they're only looking at a specific problem not the entire body.

"Every time they see a provider they're seeing someone different, that's only looking at not the whole person but that one complaint they're coming in," said Grant.

Of the nations uninsured, more than half say they don't have insurance because of the cost. More than 25 percent say, it's due to a lost job or change in employment and 15 percent said it was because their employer didn't offer it. In medicine, early detection is half the battle.

"If you check your blood pressure, if you check your glucose, and if you check for diabetes than you can help prevent chronic diseases," said Derrell Sabbs, Phoebe Community Benefits Coordinator.

Patients have to want to get the information and know where to find it, even then doctors say free clinics for the uninsured or under-insured aren't enough of a safety net.

"The net is full of holes because we don't actually, we provide certain preventative services but we don't provide all preventative services," said Grant.

The Georgia Department of Human Resources is beginning to keep numbers like this and expect to keep a watchful eye on what a lack of insurance may be costing south Georgians. 

Last week, Georgia lawmakers hoped to help the situation by passing a measure to provide tax credits for individuals and companies who buy health care plans.

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