The majority of U.S. citizens with insurance are covered by an employer-based program or that which is offered through an individual’s work; any dependents may also partake in this coverage. Other, less common insurance providers include that which was implemented by the Affordable Care Act, that which is provided by the military or Veterans Administration, and non-group insurance. Around 9% of Americans were uninsured in 2017 with the percentage steadily rising, and roughly 156 million Americans were covered by private employer-based coverage in 2017, according to an infographic published by Visual Capitalist using census information. While private insurance is undoubtedly the most prominent, public insurance has made a rise, as well.
With the introduction of the Medicare and Medicaid programs, which provide insurance for those who otherwise can not afford or acquire it, how insurance should function has become unclear.
The cost of private insurance continues to rise, which puts those with lower incomes at a disadvantage; however, due to the prevalence of for-profit insurance companies, changing the structure of the insurance industry has led to debate. Rather than universal healthcare, insurance in the United States relies on those who purchase plans with private companies.
While private insurance was the most common kind of coverage for Americans in 2017, there have been several attempts to repeal the ACA and eliminate government-supported healthcare to prioritize and promote private insurance as the primary providers. However, there are concerns with this notion, such as that, should the act be repealed, an estimated 22 million Americans will lose all insurance coverage and be left disadvantaged should they need medical assistance.
The health insurance industry of America seems to favor those who are employed and have disposable income—at least enough to agree to a deduction from their regular wages or to seek out private insurance companies on their own time. With an increase in insurance costs and the abolishment of ACA, many Americans would likely be left without coverage. As the insurance industry operates based on profit, this structure and the rising costs may not be subject to change.