According to the annual Employer Health Benefits Survey released on Wednesday by The Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank addressing health policy issues, the cost of health insurance for Americans is increasing dramatically, especially for deductibles.
In 2016, 83% of workers have a deductible — an amount that they have to pay themselves for medical care before insurance covers it — with an average of $1,478. The average deductible for workers has gone up $486, or 49%, since 2011.
Additionally, the survey found that 51% of workers have a deductible over $1,000 — the first time this has happened since the survey began in 1999.
“We’re seeing premiums rising at historically slow rates, which helps workers and employers alike, but it’s made possible in part by the more rapid rise in the deductibles workers must pay,” Drew Altman, CEO of Kaiser, said in a release accompanying the survey.
This means Americans aren’t paying too much more on a monthly basis, but when they get sick they have to pay more out of pocket.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 25% of Americans have high-deductible plans, and another 15% have high-deductible plans with an added health savings account.
One explanation for this is that increasing drug prices and costs from medical suppliers have gotten so bad that employers finally decided to share the price hikes with workers. Additionally, there is some evidence that people tend to be more cautious with their healthcare spending in general when they have a high-deductible plan, even for nondeductible costs, so employers are trying to slow the total spending.
Regardless of the reasons behind it, the reality is that people in the US are being forced to dip into their wallets more and more to pay for their healthcare.#