In 2012, more than 45 million Americans were living without health insurance coverage, including about 376,000 residents of Utah. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, only about 58 percent of all adults in this state receive their health insurance coverage through their employer. Of the remaining adults, those who do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid must purchase their own health coverage; and for many, the costs have been overwhelming.
Fortunately, the recently-passed healthcare laws will alleviate a lot of this problem by bringing more affordable coverage options to people in need. Furthermore, all insurance companies must now meet certain coverage guidelines and can no longer turn people away for having preexisting conditions. If you are a Utah resident in search of a health insurance policy for yourself or your family, now is a great time to start comparing policy quotes.
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2008 Health Snapshot of Utah Residents
- About 33% of all UT adults screened showed high levels of cholesterol.
- Heart disease was responsible for 21% of all deaths in Utah in 2005.
- Approximately 20% of all UT adults have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.
- About 22% of all state residents have been diagnosed with arthritis.
- An estimated 7% of all adult residents in UT have been diagnosed with diabetes.
- The American Cancer society states that approximately 7,660 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in UT in 2007 alone.
- Of those, 740 were colorectal cancer and 920 were breast cancer.
More than half of all adult residents in Utah suffer from one or more chronic diseases. Those afflicted spend a lot of money each year treating these ailments, but in some cases, the severity of the problems could have been reduced by healthier choices and routine health care screenings. Many medical problems can be treated more effectively and efficiently when they are detected in their earliest stages.
Under the newly-passed healthcare laws, routine preventive care is to be fully covered by all health insurance plans. This includes annual physicals, age-appropriate testing such as colonoscopies and mammograms, and routine blood work. Screening tests are highly effective in detecting cancer and other health problems very early so that they can be treated effectively. Those without healthcare coverage tend to forgo these screening tests, which is unfortunate.
What Is the Utah Health Care Exchange?
The Affordable Healthcare and Patient Protection Act states that all U.S. citizens who do not currently have health insurance must obtain this coverage in 2014 or pay a tax penalty. As part of this new law, each state, including Utah, has set up healthcare exchanges, also known as marketplaces, where affordable healthcare plans can be purchased at low group rates. These exchanges are available to anyone who does not receive health benefits through their employer, spouse, or parents and does not qualify for either Medicare or Medicaid.
Quotes for health insurance policies in the Utah marketplace are based on the number of people who will be insured on the plan, the ages of the insured, your household income, and whether or not any family members are tobacco users. Plans can be purchased at four different tiers of coverage, the least expensive of which is bronze and the most expensive of which is platinum. Low-income residents who make too much to qualify for Medicaid will receive the most in federal subsidies, thereby making this healthcare coverage more affordable to those most in need.
Health Risk Factors in Utah (2007)
- Approximately 12% of adults and 8% of high school students smoke cigarettes.
- About 58% of adults and 12% of high school students in this state are overweight.
- An estimated 82% of adults and 77% of high school students eat fewer than 5 servings of fruits or vegetables a day.
- 32% of Utah women over the age of 40 state they have not had a mammogram in the past 2 years.
- 37% of UT adults over the age of 50 have never had a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy.
- In 2007, 17% of this state’s adults between the ages of 18 and 65 reported having no health insurance coverage.
Citizens of Utah who lack healthcare coverage might try to save money by avoiding medical exams unless they feel they are absolutely necessary. This often results in doctors being unable to treat any detected illnesses or medical problems during the earliest, most curable stages.
Because the Affordable Healthcare Act mandates that insurance companies must cover preventive care, routine testing will be available at no additional cost to policy holders. This should result in longer, healthier lives for those who were previously uninsured or who lacked health insurance that provided adequate coverage.
Major Illnesses Can Be Very Expensive for the Uninsured
Approximately half of all nonbusiness bankruptcy filings in the United States are the result of unmanageable medical bills. In 2011, 17,818 individuals in Utah filed for bankruptcy. In many cases, this disheartening economic hardship could have been prevented by the presence of an appropriate health insurance policy.
Major illnesses and injuries are not the only health-related problems that can bring about excessive costs. In a state where approximately 1 in 9 adults smokes cigarettes, smoking-related illnesses have required expensive treatment. According to the CDC, in 2004, residents of Utah spent about $369 million on smoking-related expenditures. These broke up as:
- $54 million in ambulatory care
- $200 million in in-patient hospital care
- $19 million in nursing home care
- $59 million in prescription drugs
- $37 million in other, miscellaneous expenses
If you are a smoker, you may want to consult with your doctor about available smoking-cessation plans, treatments and medications, many of which may be covered by health insurance.
Get Help Obtaining Health Insurance Quotes in Utah
Navigating through the newly-established healthcare system can be confusing. There are many different insurance plans, levels of coverage, deductible amounts, and premiums, so it can be hard to decide which policy is best for you and your family. There is no need to work this out alone. An independent insurance agent in the Trusted Choice® network can help you by providing answers to your insurance-related questions and by helping you find and review insurance plans in both the Utah marketplace and the private market.
It is easy to find a Trusted Choice agent near your home in Utah. Contact a local agent to get started with your health insurance search and you can be reviewing health insurance policies and quotes in no time.