Will Having Health Insurance Help You Live Longer?

Ross Quade | Insurance | 21 May, 2014 | No Comments

The Affordable Care Act is now a household name thanks to Obama. It has provided health insurance to millions of Americans who previously did not have coverage. This is great news, however no one expected that the extension of coverage to more of the population of America would actually increase the average life expectancy. Nevertheless, a study done by the Harvard School of Public Health shows just that. In fact, in the four years since the law was enacted in Massachusetts, the mortality rate there declined by a drastic amount. This could mean that having a health insurance policy can help you live longer.

The Study

In the study that was released by Harvard News it was shown that there is an association between the health care reform and a decrease in mortality. However, the publishers of this study also stated that this may not apply to every state, especially as other studies done outside of Massachusetts showed little to no correlation between living longer and having health insurance. Despite this, the study done by Harvard adds on to the increasing amount of evidence that there is in fact a connection between having health insurance and how long you live.

The Findings

The study looked at the number of fatalities per 100,000 adults in the age range of 20 to 64. It was estimated that the death rate of those who do not have health insurance is 25% more than those who have an insurance plan. In fact, there are 18,000 unnecessary deaths every year due to the fact that 40 million US citizens did not have health insurance before the Affordable Care Act.

Contrary Evidence

There is some contrary evidence to this study. In 2009, another study done by the Research and Education Trust discovered that the risk of mortality does not differ between those who have insurance and those that do not when the mortality rate is adjusted for factors such as heath status. The study in fact concluded that there was no evidence that would suggest that giving insurance coverage to all adults in the US would have a substantial effect on the total number of deaths in the Country.

Health Insurance Saving Lives

Despite this, the study done by Harvard researchers did find that the death rate in Massachusetts decreased by 3% in the years since the health care act was put in place. The study looked at over 4 million people who lived in Massachusetts and compared it to a control group in a different state. This study showed that the increased access to health care, thanks to the affordable health care act, has helped prevent as high as 320 people’s death every year.

What This Means For You

If you were previously uninsured then chances are you avoided doctors visits as much as possible. This includes preventative visits, such as getting Colonoscopies or Mammograms, as well as getting vaccines in order to prevent illnesses. On top of this, you may have avoided going to the doctors for injuries and illnesses that should had been treated. With the insurance that is provided to you through the Affordable Care Act, there is no reason to not make regular doctors visits and ensure that you and your family remain healthy and live long lives and thus chances are your life will be prolonged due to having health insurance. Additionally, going to the doctors for regular check ups can help catch illnesses that are curable or treatable if caught early enough. However, if you do not have health insurance and so avoid the doctors all together, it could be too late if you have an illness that is not found on time.

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