Is it already October? Wow. How time flies. And as we know, in October the annual analysis of our employer sponsored and individual health insurance policies begins. Decisions must also be made soon, but first a look at where we are.
And where we are is at historically low-rising rates and historically rising deductibles. The Obama administration takes part of the credit for the low-rising rates. It announced last week that the first two-years of ObamaCare produced 17.6 million more insured than were insured before the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Of those 15.3 million are insured via Medicaid and 2.3 million people under age 26 have insurance from the plans of their parents.
Anyway, two research groups the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust found dropping premiums and up-front, rising deductibles means patients are now more responsible for their share of medical costs than before. Kaiser spokesman and CEO Drew Altman said, “While it’s absolutely true that we’ve been living in a period of an historic slowdown in healthcare costs, it’s almost invisible to consumers. What they pay for health care is going up at a time when their wages are relatively flat.”
Premiums in 2015 rose just 3.8%. The average worker paid $1,071 of the average $6,251 it costs a company to insurer them. Deductibles jumped 9% and the up-front costs now average $1,077 a year per person.
It gets worse. Since 2010 deductibles have gone up 67%. Premiums — on the other hand — jumped about a third of that at 24%. In all deductibles are now 81% and rising. That compares to 70% in 2010 when ObamaCare passed Congress.
There are two reasons for the increases. First, employers are shifting costs to employees so health insurance costs are not so high for them. Second, workers having to pay more for health care tend to use it less and that has kept price increases down.
Clare Krusing of Americas Health Insurance Plans said, “When you are trying to provide affordable coverage and low premiums for individuals, often times there are trade-offs, and deductibles are one of those trade-offs.”
Source links: insurancejournal.com and The Hill