Ilovebenefits’s Blog

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Health Care Costs – What will Consumers Do?

Editor’s note: Health care costs for consumers are mounting. The increases have not, however, caused the percentage of the health care bill paid by the consumer to reach the approximate 50% levels of the 1950s before the prevalence of health insurance benefits. The recent increases are having their impact on the percentages of people who are insured and underinsured. It is impacting wage increases and perhaps most importantly it is beginning to activate consumers. As consumers are activated we will begin to see individuals take more accountability for their health, lifestyle choices, compliance and care decisions. This type of activation, while it will be slower, will in many ways mimic real consumer behaviors when prices rise (e.g, oil, gas and electric rates) when real focus is required to find other means of provisioning products and services.


Based on simulated bill paying, this paper examines trends in comprehensiveness of coverage, out-of-pocket spending for medical services, underinsurance, and the affordability of employer-based insurance from 2004 to 2007. Data are from MarketScan medical claims and an annual survey of employer health benefits. Health plans covered slightly fewer expenses in 2007 than in 2004, but out-of-pocket spending grew more than one-third because of growth in overall health spending. For people at 200 percent of poverty, the percentage spending more than 10 percent of their income out of pocket on premiums plus services increased from 13 percent to 18 percent. Health Affairs 28, no. 4 (2009): w595-w606 (published online 2 June 2009; 10.1377/hlthaff.28.4.w595)]


June 5, 2009 - Posted by | Accountability, Affordability, Cost, Economics of Health care, healthcare | , , , , , ,

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