KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Teens With Chronic Diseases Often Have Expensive, Uncertain Coverage

ABC News profiles teens living with chronic diseases, and examines their insurance coverage and the cost of such care. The article notes: "Chronic diseases affect 1 in 10 Americans and are the leading cause of disability, accounting for 70 percent of all deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They are also expensive."

"Harvard University study indicates that 60 percent of all personal bankruptcies in the U.S. were health related - and that was in 2005, two years before the recession took hold. The total cost of cardiovascular diseases and stroke in the U.S. was estimated to be $475.3 billion, according to the AHA, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. According to 2009 research by the Michigan-based Altarum Institute, heart conditions are the second biggest out-of-pocket medical expense in the United States -- about $123 billion or 7 percent of all personal health spending. Only mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression and dementia, account for more -- about $143.2 billion." ABC News also notes the financial strains put on families: "These middle-class families report that they are dropped by their insurance companies when they get too sick, and are either denied coverage because of 'pre-existing conditions' or face astronomical premiums" (James, 9/30). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.