Lewis & Ellis Inc.

Many states' rising health insurance costs concerning to workers

Health Care and Health Insurance
by Jacqueline Lee
Recession could lead tens of millions to lose health insurance
Recession could lead tens of millions to lose health insurance

It should come as no surprise to those in the health insurance industry that rising costs have weighed on consumers' home finances for some time now, and many are starting to feel rather concerned about this type of increase. In fact, new data suggests just how much people are being impacted by these premium jumps every year.

During the decade from 2003 to 2013, the total amount of money consumers have to pay for their health insurance - when it's obtained through an employer - has gone up appreciably, and has far outstripped growth of personal income during that time, according to a new study from the Commonwealth Fund. On a state-by-state basis, the impacts of these upticks vary, but in general residents were paying almost double what they did for premiums 10 years earlier; in extreme cases, those increases came to as much as 175 percent. Likewise, deductibles have more than doubled in 44 states, with six others, plus the District of Columbia, serving as the only holdouts in this regard.

Recent changes could be more heartening
However, the rate of increase in more recent years - from 2010 to 2013 - has been much slower, even if they have continued to grow more significantly than personal incomes, the report said. Since the original aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act were put into place, premium growth on a national basis has averaged just 4.1 percent. That number is down about 20 percent from the 5.1 percent seen from 2003 to 2010.

And while not every state falls in line with those numbers (10, in fact, are still above that level, averaging close to 6 percent) the vast majority of Americans have been feeling the positive impact for some time, the report said. Another 22 states have seen premiums grow at less than the national average. However, despite those positive steps, 82 percent of all Americans under the age of 65 live in states where premiums still take up at least 20 percent of the median household income.

Health insurers should certainly try to keep these issues in mind going forward, and work with consumers when possible to make sure that they are getting the kind of coverage they need both for their health care needs and financial concerns. Balancing these two issues will likely be key to making things work for both sides of a policy going forward.



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