Too High a Price: Out-of-Pocket Health Care Costs in the United States

Findings from the Commonwealth Fund Health Care Affordability Tracking Survey, September–October 2014

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Toplines

    When health insurance deductibles are high relative to income, many people skip needed care. 
    Having health insurance doesn’t guarantee that Americans with lower incomes can afford needed care.

Overview

Whether they have health insurance through an employer or buy it on their own, Americans are paying more out-of-pocket for health care now than they did in the past decade. A Commonwealth Fund survey fielded in the fall of 2014 asked consumers about these costs. More than one of five 19-to-64-year-old adults who were insured all year spent 5 percent or more of their income on out-of-pocket costs, not including premiums, and 13 percent spent 10 percent or more. Adults with low incomes had the highest rates of steep out-of-pocket costs. About three of five privately insured adults with low incomes and half of those with moderate incomes reported that their deductibles are difficult to afford. Two of five adults with private insurance who had high deductibles relative to their income said they had delayed needed care because of the deductible.

when coverage can't buy care

Publication Details

Publication Date:
November 13, 2014
Authors:
Sara R. Collins, Petra W. Rasmussen, Michelle M. Doty, Sophie Beutel
Contact:
Sara R. Collins, Vice President, Health Care Coverage and Access, The Commonwealth Fund
E-mail: src@cmwf.org
Citation:
S. R. Collins, P. W. Rasmussen, M. M. Doty, and S. Beutel, Too High a Price: Out-of-Pocket Health Care Costs in the United States, The Commonwealth Fund, November 2014.

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