News Headlines Article

Americans are shouldering more and more of their health-care costs
The Washington Post

For years, economists have been talking about a historic slowdown in the growth of health spending, which they say was triggered largely by the recession. To people feeling the financial crush of rising deductibles and premiums, talk of a slowdown can feel totally wrong, and a new study of the out-of-pocket costs shouldered by patients with private insurance who end up in the hospital helps explain why.

Between 2009 and 2013, overall health-care spending grew at 2.9 percent per year, while the amount shouldered by insured patients when they were hospitalized grew more than twice as fast, according to the study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Patients’ out-of-pocket portion of their hospitalization costs rose 6.5 percent each year, from $738 on average in 2009 to more than $1,000 in 2013. To put that in perspective, consider the findings of a recent Federal Reserve survey, which found nearly half of Americans do not have enough money to cover a $400 emergency expense.