New Survey: Patients’ share of health care costs continues to grow

Allyson Funk
Allyson Funk September 20, 2016


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As we’ve highlighted before, a growing body of research continues to raise red flags about the implications of high cost sharing and patients’ ability to access affordable care – even if they have insurance.

Last week, Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust released their annual survey of employer health benefits. The survey of employers looked at premiums, deductibles, cost sharing and other aspects of coverage from almost 2,000 employers.

The survey found prevalence of deductibles is on the rise and more workers (29 percent) are enrolling in high-deductible health plans. In 2016, four in five covered workers faced a deductible for their health care. Average deductibles are now nearly $1,500, an increase of 12 percent from 2015 and up 49 percent since 2011. And in 2016, over half of all covered workers had a deductible of at least $1,000.

Other research has shown use of high deductibles has been increasing in recent years, with the number of commercial plans with deductibles for prescription drugs doubling from 23 percent to 46 percent since 2012.

As patients increasingly face the challenge of meeting a deductible before health care services are covered, it is more important than ever for consumers to be engaged and empowered in their health care decisions. Clear information about out-of-pocket costs can help patients make better health coverage decisions.

Topics: Access, Out-of-Pocket Costs, Access Better Coverage