Study: High Medical Costs Were a Growing Burden for Americans Before the ACA Took Effect

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<p>The proportion of Americans spending a large share of their income on health insurance and health care was increasing in the years leading up to implementation of the Affordable Care Act, a new <a href="/publications/journal-article/2015/jan/share-people-high-medical-costs-increased-prior">Commonwealth Fund–supported study</a> finds.</p><p>In the new issue of <em>Health Affairs</em>, researcher Peter Cunningham reports that in 2011, 19.2 percent of U.S. adults spent more than 10 percent of their household income on out-of-pocket expenses for premiums and medical services, compared with 18.2 percent during the years 2007–09. Medical cost burdens were highest for people with private nongroup insurance coverage—among the people who are most likely to benefit from the health reform law’s coverage expansions.</p>
<p>Cunningham notes that just over half of Americans with nongroup coverage between 2009 and 2011 had family incomes at or below 400 percent of the poverty level, meaning they would potentially have been eligible for premium subsidies through the insurance marketplaces that went online in 2014.</p> Read the study