Can I afford this? Today’s crisis in healthcare coverage
By Jon Jensen, AmericasPharmacy.com
In the past, only people without healthcare coverage used to worry about being able to offer healthcare costs. But not anymore.
Today, even having employer-sponsored health coverage is no guarantee that you can afford your health care. Rising premiums and deductibles are driving employer-based health insurance beyond the reach of more and more workers every year. So often people who may be “covered” employees still cannot afford the healthcare solutions that they get through their employers.
Why is this happening?
Although healthcare is still covered by employers, an employee family plan now costs an employer an average of $20,000 a year, with the worker contributing about $6,000.
So how do employers cover this increase in premiums without drastically raising employee’s paycheck contributions? Employers have started increasing the deductibles as opposed to increasing the employees share of the premiums. Studies show that deductibles are now accounting for more than 50% of workers’ out-of-pocket medical expenses. And about 40% of workers now have high-deductible insurance plans, and that’s percent is increasing as well. In fact, enrollment in high-deductible plans has tripled in the past decade.
What does this mean for me?
If you have a form of high-deductible medical insurance, or no insurance, you should always try to shop around whenever possible to find the lowest costs on your healthcare. Just like prescriptions, different healthcare providers in your area may have drastically different prices for the same over very similar things. It is not always the best policy to leave 100% of the decision up to your primary healthcare provider. Know your option and know the costs. It is your money, and you’ll want to stretch it as far as it can go.
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