Uninsured Add $922

To Health Premiums

Families with employer-sponsored health insurance will pay an average of $922 more in premiums this year because of costs doctors and hospitals incur in treating patients who do not have insurance, concludes a report by the consumer advocacy group Families USA.

The extra cost, about $1 out of every $12 spent on health insurance premiums, will rise to an average of $1,502 within five years, the report said. Kenneth E. Thorpe, an Emory University economist, wrote the report for Families USA.

About 45 million Americans lacked health care coverage in 2003, according to the Census Bureau. Families USA said people without insurance pay about a third of their health care costs, leaving doctors and hospitals this year with more than $43 billion in unpaid bills. Health providers raise prices to other patients to make up the difference, the report said.

"The large and increasing number of uninsured Americans is . . . a matter of self-interest for everyone," said Ron Pollack, the executive director of Families USA.

Indonesia Finds Cases

Of Polio in New Areas

Indonesia has reported eight new cases of polio in districts different from where the crippling disease first reappeared, the World Health Organization said yesterday.

Sari Setiogi, a WHO spokesman, said the number of confirmed cases now totals 28 in Indonesia, which has been taking steps to fight its first polio outbreak in a decade. The country has inoculated 6.2 million children since late May to try to stamp out the disease.

WHO, which aims to halt the spread of polio worldwide this year, has battled a series of setbacks since Nigeria's northern state of Kano halted immunization out of fear it could cause sterility or spread HIV-AIDS. Vaccination resumed after a 10-month ban.

New Group of Culprits

Is Linked to Cancer

Three teams of researchers have identified a new group of culprits that play a major role in the development of human cancers.

They are tiny bits of ribonucleic acid (RNA), called micro RNAs, that control gene activity. The researchers said yesterday that they initiate some cancers and could be used to diagnose the illness.

"These minuscule molecules are now definitely linked to the development of cancer," Paul S. Meltzer, of the National Human Genome Research Institute in Maryland, wrote in a commentary in the journal Nature.

-- From News Services