Losing jobs and health benefits - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Losing jobs and health benefits

WATERLOO (KWWL) - Losing your job doesn't just mean losing your paycheck, it also means losing benefits. On Monday almost 50,000 Americans lost their jobs, and their health benefits, after five companies downsized.

A Harvard study finds that medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy. In many cases, the financial downfall came after patients lost their job-based health insurance.

Studies find patients with tight budgets make decisions that jeopardize their health. AARP found 22-percent put off treatment and 15-percent skipped or reduced doses. Not only are people not taking medicine when they are sick, they are also foregoing preventative care.

The underinsured are weakening already stressed hospitals, doctors and health clinics. The Iowa Hospital Association reports charity-care for uninsured patients jumped 26-percent in the third quarter of 2008 compared to 2007. One hospital c-e-o says higher unemployment is a main cause for the increase in cost, and that will continue to rise if the economy worsens.


Online Producer: Maria Magner

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