Private health insurance out of pocket costs spike sharply

Covered California exchange health insurance coverage

Even with coverage, patients visiting hospitals have found that the expenses they pay themselves are up 37 percent.

The results of a recent study are adding even more evidence that private health insurance coverage isn’t stopping rising expenses. The research pointed specifically to high-deductible plans that are a top choice among employers. These keep premiums low but can lead to higher out of pocket expenses.

Though this keeps the initial health plan costs down, it can add up at times when claims are made.

Researchers from the University of Michigan recently conducted a private health insurance study. It found that from 2009 to 2013, there was an increase of 37 percent in the out of pocket costs associated with hospital visits. Furthermore, the research indicated that the increases aren’t likely to stop.

This study is published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal. Moreover, this is the most recent in a pile of evidence indicating employees may be suffering to save employers money. The evidence suggesting employees are paying more so employers can keep costs down. This is done through high-deductible health plans.

On average, out of pocket private health insurance expenses are growing by 6.5 percent per year.

private health insuranceAt the same time, there was a 2.9 percent annual overall spending increase in health expenses. That said, from 2009 through 2013, the average hospitalization cost paid out of pocket was over $1,000. The unexpected charges patients had to pay were a large component of those high costs.

The out of pocket costs included in this research included a number of different types of expense. That said, they were all the types of expense paid by the insurance policy holder. Among them were: co-payments, deductibles and co-insurance as well as other forms of uncovered expense.

These figures align with another study conducted in 2013. That study was published in the Journal of Health Economics. It revealed that only 14 percent of health plan policyholders actually knew what their out of pocket costs were.

Throughout the period of the study, there was an 86 percent growth rate in private health insurance deductibles. Coinsurance costs increased by 33 percent.

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