Lack of health insurance coverage has been a growing problem in the United States, and in West Virginia, where the majority of the state’s employed do not have access to employee subsidized health insurance, this problem has been felt sharply. Access to health insurance that covers preventive care can help significantly. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandates that those without health insurance must purchase a policy or pay a penalty, so the time to compare quotes for medical insurance in West Virginia is now.
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How West Virginians Are Covered for Healthcare
- Employer subsidized healthcare coverage: 47%
- Medicaid: 17%
- Medicare: 17%
- Privately purchased insurance: 2%
- Other public assistance: 2%
- Uninsured: 15%
Most of West Virginia’s uninsured are made up of the working poor. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced in May of 2013 that West Virginia would participate in the ACA’s optional Medicaid expansion. This means that more than 91,000 of this state’s residents would now be eligible for healthcare through the Medicaid program.
The uninsured who have an income too high to qualify will be able to purchase coverage through the West Virginia healthcare exchange, or marketplace, which enables residents to take advantage of low group-rates for health insurance coverage.
Chronic Illnesses that Affect WV Residents
- About 42% of all adults in West Virginia have been diagnosed with high cholesterol.
- Approximately 33% of WV adults have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.
- An estimated 36% of all state residents have been diagnosed with arthritis.
- About 10% of all state residents have been diagnosed with diabetes.
- 10,490 state residents were diagnosed with some form of cancer in 2007.
- Of those, 1,210 were colorectal cancer and 1,180 were breast cancer.
Why Is Health Insurance Important to West Virginia Residents?
A majority of this state’s residents suffer from one or more chronic diseases and many of these diseases, such as heart disease which accounts for 27 percent of all deaths in this state, are life-threatening. The rate of colorectal and breast cancer in West Virginia exceeds the national average, yet many of this state’s residents forego screening tests that can detect these cancers in their earliest stages.
This is unfortunate because screening tests not only save lives, they also reduce the overall cost of treatment. The earlier that many illnesses are detected, the more likely they are to be treated successfully with less invasive procedures. Routine age-appropriate testing including mammograms and colonoscopies are very effective and make up a system of preventive healthcare that is beneficial to patients. A comprehensive health insurance policy covers these sorts of tests.
West Virginia Health Risk Factors
- 27% of adults and 28% of high school students smoke cigarettes.
- 68% of adults and 17% of high school students are overweight.
- 80% of state residents eat fewer than 5 servings of fruits or vegetables. a day
- 67% of state high school student do not attend physical education classes.
- 26% of women over the age of 40 report not having had a mammogram in the past 2 years.
- 47% of adults over 50 have never had a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy.
- In 2007, 21% of residents age 18 to 64 reported having no health insurance coverage.
Lack of Health Insurance Has Serious Consequences
Because so many of the adults in West Virginia do not have healthcare coverage, they frequently try to save money by avoiding doctors unless absolutely necessary. Usually, by the time they feel their health problems warrant an examination, their illnesses have escalated to the point that expensive treatment is needed.
Annual physicals, which include the running of routine blood-work and blood-pressure screening, have been proven to lead to longer, healthier lives for patients. During these visits, doctors can make patients aware of their health risks so that they can make appropriate changes to their lifestyles if they so choose.
It is unfortunate, but roughly half of all bankruptcy filings in this country are caused by overwhelming debt brought on by medical bills. In 2011, more than 1,300 West Virginians filed for bankruptcy. The personal and financial effects that a bankruptcy claim can have on an individual are difficult and long-lasting and, in many cases, could have been avoided with the proper health insurance coverage.
Having proper health insurance increases people's willingness to have tests and cancer screenings and reduces one's risk of filing bankruptcy due to medical bills.
Review Quotes for Medical Insurance in West Virginia
You may think that healthcare coverage is simply too expensive to purchase, and until recently, you probably would have been right. However, as a result of the recently passed healthcare laws, insurance costs have become more affordable than ever. Because premiums are based mainly on your family’s income, those most in need will be able to purchase their policies at the lowest rates. Even better, those with pre-existing conditions can no longer be turned away.
An independent agent in the Trusted Choice® network can explain your healthcare options to you and can help you find a health insurance plan that fits your budget. Find an agent near you to learn more about your health insurance options in West Virginia.