Home » Blog » Decreased Coverage, Higher Care Costs Negate Income Increases

Decreased Coverage, Higher Care Costs Negate Income Increases

The recent issue of Health Affairs paints a bleak health care picture.

A Commonwealth Fund survey found that 29 million adults with insurance lacked adequate coverage in 2010, leaving them unprotected from high medical expenses. This was a marked increase from 16 million underinsured adults in 2003 (80% increase), indicating that the financial burden has shifted from insurance providers to consumers.

Another study by Ketsche et al. found that the burden of financing health care is regressive; lower-income families pay a higher share of their income (20%) towards health care costs than higher-income families (16%).

A third study by the RAND Institute reported that although a median-income family of four with employer-based coverage saw its gross annual income increase from $76,000 (1999) to $99,000 (2009), this gain was offset by increased spending to pay for health care, which increased from $805/month to $1,420/month. This amounted to an annual difference of $6,840. Factoring in these care costs, inflation, increased taxes and non-health related cost of goods, the average family was left with an extra $95/month.

The ACA is projected to reduce financial inequities, as well as the number of underinsured by 70%.

These articles can be found at the Health Affairs website. The Commonwealth Fund report and a research brief of the RAND study are also available online.

Tags: , , , , , ,