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Children's Health Issues to Watch: Coping With Health Care Costs

Coping With Health Care Costs

As the ranks of the uninsured continue to swell, parents and families are going to feel the impact when they both seek and pay for health care.

No health insurance and gaps in health plan coverage have had a ripple effect throughout the U.S. health care system. Because of inadequate coverage, many families are going without preventive health care entirely or delaying care until it becomes an emergency. The result? People showing up for care when they're sicker and require more costly medical services. The lack of insurance is causing more people to seek care at emergency departments, which are required by federal law to care for all who show up regardless of ability to pay. Because hospitals and other health care providers are providing more care that they're not getting paid for, they're under more financial pressure and have to make hard choices about limiting the care they provide. Unfortunately, that's meant cutting many vital health care services for kids, like pediatric units in hospitals and mental health care services.

What to Watch:

As financial pressure continues to mount on the health care system, it will be felt not just by poor families but also by the private employers who pay for health care coverage. Corporations are likely to force the issue into the spotlight for lawmakers and demand solutions. In the meantime, many families with health insurance likely will see increased premiums or diminished benefits. They may even find that as cutbacks continue, they can't always find care when they need it.

For Teens:

Dealing With an Emergency

For Parents:

Financial Management During Crisis
Is it a Medical Emergency?
Going to the Emergency Room

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Note: All information on KidsHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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