Summary: “With 91% of the population now covered by some form of health insurance, and the coverage rate higher in some states, the next big debate in health policy could be about the adequacy of coverage,” Drew Altman, head of the Kaiser Family Foundation, writes over on The Wall Street Journal. That particularly means rising payments for deductibles and their impact on family budgets and access to care. This is about not just Obamacare but also the many more people who get insurance through an employer. As the chart above shows, payments toward deductibles by consumers who have insurance through large employers rose 256% from 2004 to 2014; over the same period, wages increased 32%. The chart shows what people actually paid toward their deductibles and other forms of cost-sharing, not just their exposure as deductibles climbed (which is more typically what studies and data report). Deductibles accounted for 47% of cost-sharing payments in 2014, up from 24% in 2004. During the same period some other forms of cost-sharing fell. Payments for co-pays declined by 26%. It’s no wonder that consumers say in polls that deductibles are their top health-cost concern.” [Note the coinsurance rising on this graph also.] Drew Altman, “The Next Big Debate in Health Care,” The Wall Street Journal.
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded...
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