The report paints a sobering picture of how employer-sponsored health insurance -- which covers the majority of Americans under age 65 -- is becoming increasingly unaffordable for middle-income families.
Premiums and deductibles are rising, and workers are spending a growing share of their income on insurance. Meanwhile, wages have grown at a much slower rate, meaning families are stretching their paychecks to pay for care or, worse, making difficult decisions about whether they can afford it.
"As your deductible increases, you're less likely to get needed care, to fill prescriptions you need, to go to the doctor when you're sick. These [deductibles] act as a financial barrier to care," said
The report is based on an analysis of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey-Insurance Component, a federal survey of more than 40,000 private-sector employers about their health insurance plans in 2018.
Premiums and deductibles accounted for about 10% of workers' income in
Nationally, workers spent an average of 11% of their income on premiums and deductibles in 2018, though in some states, insurance costs ate up as much as 16% of wages.
Rising deductibles are largely responsible for driving up employees' share of health-care costs.
The average deductible for an employer-sponsored health plan in 2018 was
That's far less than the out-of-pocket costs attached to individual health plans through the Affordable Care Act marketplace, where deductibles can exceed
But as deductibles rise and account for a growing portion of wages, families with employer health plans risk being "underinsured," meaning they are unable to afford health care because of the out-of-pocket costs they will be responsible for until their deductible is met.
"Ensuring that everyone can afford health insurance and health care will require policy fixes and system-wide efforts to get to the heart of the health-care cost problem -- the exorbitant prices we often pay for health care in
(c)2019 The Philadelphia Inquirer
Visit The Philadelphia Inquirer at www.inquirer.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.