Covering the uninsured in 2008: current costs, sources of payment, and incremental costs

Health Aff (Millwood). 2008 Sep-Oct;27(5):w399-415. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.27.5.w399. Epub 2008 Aug 25.


People uninsured for any part of 2008 spend about $30 billion out of pocket and receive approximately $56 billion in uncompensated care while uninsured. Government programs finance about 75 percent of uncompensated care. If all uninsured people were fully covered, their medical spending would increase by $122.6 billion. The increase represents 5 percent of current national health spending and 0.8 percent of gross domestic product. However, it is neither the cost of a specific plan nor necessarily the same as the government's costs, which could be higher, depending on plans' financing structures and the extent of crowd-out.

MeSH terms

  • Cost Allocation
  • Economics, Hospital
  • Financing, Government
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage / economics*
  • Medically Uninsured / statistics & numerical data*
  • Uncompensated Care / economics*
  • United States