Poll: 7% of Americans marry for health insurance

UHCEF Article of Interest

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Chron.com News, search and shopping from the Houston Chronicle

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April 29, 2008, 11:06PM

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR

Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON — Some people marry for love, some for companionship and others for status or money. Now comes another reason to get hitched: health insurance.

In a poll released Tuesday, 7 percent of Americans said they or someone in their household decided to marry in the past year so they could obtain health care benefits via their spouse.

“It’s a small number, but a powerful result, because it shows how paying for health care is reflected not only in family budgets, but in life decisions,” said Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which commissioned the survey as part of its regular polling on health care.

The survey found that the costs of health care outranked housing expenses, rising food prices and credit card bills as a source of concern.

Of those surveyed, 28 percent said they had experienced serious problems because of the cost of health care, nearly tied with 29 percent who had problems getting a job or a raise.

Gasoline prices were the top economic worry, with 44 percent saying they had serious problems keeping up with increases at the pump.

Health care inflation has been rising at about twice the rate of economic growth.

Therefore, it may be no surprise that nearly one-fourth of Americans decided to keep or change jobs in the past year because of health insurance.

The Kaiser polls, conducted April 3-13, surveyed a nationally representative sample of 2,003 adults and have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.