Americans Paying for More of Their Health Care Costs

Families with individual coverage may spend 22 to 50 percent of household income on health care
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- Out-of-pocket costs are rising for Americans with health care coverage, including premiums, deductibles and copayments, according to a new June 23 report from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

According to the report, in 2008, the average premium for a family health plan bought through an employer was $12,680, with employment-sponsored premiums nearly doubling since 2000. During the past two years, the average family deductible for preferred provider organization plans purchased through an employer has risen 30 percent, from $1,034 to $1,344. For families buying insurance in the individual market, the average deductible was $2,753 in 2007.

The report notes that copayments have also been rising. In 2008, one out of three people with health insurance through an employer had a copayment of more than $25. For families buying coverage through the individual market, 84 percent had copayments more than $25. Also, in 2006, out-of-pocket costs for someone with employer-based coverage -- including premiums -- were $3,744. For families buying directly from an insurer, that figure was $7,280.

"A middle-income family with individual coverage spends on average 22 percent of household income on health care -- and some spend up to 50 percent. A similar middle-income family with employer-based coverage spends 8 percent of their income on health care costs," the authors write.

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