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The Big Problem

Whether it’s a Medicare Part D drug plan or a privately purchased health plan, Americans consistently pay more than necessary for insurance. To make matters worse, they may also select plans whose deductibles and copayments are more expensive than competing plans in their local markets. A few data points:

  • Healthcare costs made up a startling 17% of the US gross domestic product in 20131, and these costs are estimated to increase to twenty percent by 2021.2
  • Household payments made up twenty-eight percent of national health expenditures in 2013. The trend toward higher deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs is accelerating throughout the health insurance industry. Without help identifying opportunities for savings on out-of-pocket costs as well as premiums, Americans may see an increasing portion of their earnings consumed by these expenses.
  • In 2014 HealthPocket analyzed Obamacare health plan data for the Associated Press and found that the average annual premium was $5,558 for a 50-year-old and $8,345 for a 60-year-old.
  • When comparing the pre-reform to post-reform markets for individually purchased health insurance, HealthPocket found that the average premium in 2014 for a 23-year-old woman was up about 44.9% from 2013, while men of the same age had a 79.2% increase (Forbes).
  • A 2012 Health Affairs study found that with Medicare Part D plans, one in five seniors pays $500 a year more than necessary to meet their medication needs; only 5 percent select the cheapest plan.
  • A HealthPocket study found that the average coinsurance fee for inpatient hospital services was 27% for bronze Obamacare plans (Wall Street Journal). Moreover, HealthPocket found that the average deductible for an individual bronze plan was $5,181 in 2015 (The Huffington Post, CNBC, Wall Street Journal) and $5,081 in 2014 (Forbes, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CBS News).
  • USA Today quoted the findings of a HealthPocket study that copayments and coinsurance fees for drugs increased an average of 34% in 2014. In addition, the Wall Street Journal quoted HealthPocket’s research that more than half of 2014 bronze plans required patients to pay 30% of doctor’s fees.

HealthPocket provides unbiased information on premiums and out-of-pocket costs so consumers can shop wiser for health insurance and pay less on health care.

Updated July 17, 2015

Sources:

1 CMS Historical Health Expenditure Data
2 See Report: Health Spending Will Climb To Nearly One-Fifth Of GDP, June 2012
3 CMS Historical Health Expenditure Data
4 See AHIP Report: Health Savings Accounts and Account-Based Health Plans: Research Highlights, July 2012

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