Yakima families living without insurance, a risky gamble - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima families living without insurance, a risky gamble

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YAKIMA, Wash-- Many children can get medical treatment with help from the state. Their parents on the other hand often go without treatment because of budget breaking costs.

For young mother Angelica Sager, baby James comes first. He's at Yakima Neighborhood Health because he has a cold. James medical needs are covered by state assistance.

Sager's husband works full time, but the small business doesn't offer medical insurance. So Sager and her husband go uninsured, they simply can not afford it.

"It's $500 to $600 for a family of four," said Sager.

Sager recently suffered from a kidney infection, with no insurance she didn't want to go to the doctor. But, it got so bad she ended going to the hospital.

Now, she'll be getting a hefty bill.

"I can't remember what else they did, oh they did a couple of tests, those will all be pretty expensive. Oh and just the hospital bed," said Sager.

If Sager had been diagnosed sooner the kidney infection maybe could've been treated with antibiotics.

"We need to provide access to basic primary care because that's where the most cost effective care is found, through prevention," said Rhonda Hauff, chief operating officer, Yakima Neighborhood Health.

Rhonda said the cost of insurance deters many small business owners and individuals.
Last year 35% of the adults coming into Neighborhood Health were uninsured, that number has climbed to 50% this year.

"No matter how good your looking for or extensive of coverage you're looking for you have to start with whether or not you can afford it," said Hauff.

But, going without medical insurance can lead to expensive medical bills, as Sager knows first hand. A tough gamble that many Yakima families are forced to make.

The 50% uninsured mentioned above will climb even higher this year, says Hauff, unless basic health care becomes more affordable for the working class.