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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

West Michigan Health trends show increase for the first time in 5 years of uninsured people


After the Affordable Care Act passed the country saw a dramatic decrease of uninsured Americans from over 46.5 million to just below 27 million according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau; but in the past year, the data is heading in the opposite direction with more people going without health insurance according to this year’s Health Check Study from Grand Valley State University.

Azizur Molla, public health expert at GVSU, says one reason more people are going without insurance is because health insurance premiums are going up. 

“They are not getting that coverage and their level of earning is not really helping them to buy good insurance. So that’s really a discouraging factor for lower middle class and definitely lower class.”

And the kind of insurance a person affects the kind of treatment they get from a health care provider, according to Molla, who predicts that the West Michigan region will start to see high income as a strong determinant of positive health outcomes.

“There is evidence that if the coverage is low, or the people cannot afford certain kind of billing, even the doctors  may not even prescribe even though the patients need an MRI, because an MRI is expensive, as a result those patients poor, and because they are poor they cannot afford with a high level of insurance they are not going to get that treatment.” 

In Michigan, those who went without any health care coverage were people earning three times the poverty level, or about $75,000 dollars per year for a family of four. Many of these families earn too much money to have their health premiums subsidized by the government. 

Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU New. 

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