May 30, 2019
Health Plan Deductibles Triple in 10 Years
The evidence continues to pile up: workers are having a very hard time affording their high-deductible health plans, which have gone from rare to covering nearly a third of U.S. workers.
Between 2008 and 2018, the deductibles in employer health plans more than tripled – growing much faster than earnings. Workers’ full insurance coverage doesn’t kick in until they pay the deductibles, which now exceed $3,000 for individuals and $5,000 for families in the highest-deductible plans. Add to that a 50 percent hike in premiums during that time.
Some 156 million people get health insurance through work, and they’re largely grateful to have it. They blame rising medical costs on insurers and pharmaceutical companies – and not their employers and healthcare providers – a new Kaiser Family Foundation survey said.
One in four said medical bills or copayments for drugs and doctor visits are severely straining their budgets, and the Commonwealth Fund, another healthcare researcher, estimates that the typical worker spent about 12 percent of his income on deductibles and premiums in 2017, compared with 8 percent in 2008 – the figure is closer to 15 percent in Louisiana and Mississippi.
The solution is often to forgo or postpone care. And the higher an employee’s deductible – no surprise – “the more likely they are to experience problems affording care or putting off care due to cost,” Kaiser said. Inadequate medical care is especially dangerous for people with chronic conditions. …Learn More