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While no one can seem to agree on how to stop the price of healthcare from increasing, most of us can acknowledge that it’s a problem. As debates continue, you might be wondering: how high are health insurance costs rising? Below, we explore some of the costs, causes, and concerns about out-of-pocket health expenses before offering some suggestions for dealing with them.

Healthcare Costs Continue to Rise

The average monthly premium for an Affordable Care Act benchmark health plan in 2014 was $273. In 2020, the average was $462. That’s an increase of over 69% in six years. Out-of-pocket limits for ACA plans in 2014 were $6,350 for an individual and $12,700 for a family. In 2020, those limits are $8,150 and $16,300 respectively — an increase of over 28%.

For employer-sponsored plans, the annual cost of health care for a typical American family of four in 2019 was $28,386 (including both employer and employee contributions), which is an increase of over $3,700 (or 15%) in just four years. Over the past ten years, deductibles for employer plans have risen by 212%, and one in four plans has a deductible over $2,000.

Depending on whom you ask, you might be told that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) helps to moderate healthcare costs. Opinions differ, but the numbers suggest a definite slowdown. Although costs are still going up, they are increasing at a much slower pace than they were prior to the ACA. From 2010 to 2013 there was a marked slowdown in premium growth in over 31 states. This change in premiums is linked to the historic slowdown in healthcare costs. But if you were to ask most Americans if it feels like their health insurance costs are rising or slowing, they would most likely say rising.

What Keeps Health Insurance Costs Rising?

Factors that contribute to healthcare’s increasing prices include: 
  1. The administrative costs of healthcare providers, which makes up 30 percent of total healthcare spending, and 
  2. Preventable chronic health conditions that manifest themselves into expensive diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

Additionally, the growth of the senior population, the fluctuating costs for prescription drugs, and the misuse of healthcare (like emergency room visits for non-emergencies) are all contributing factors.

Growing employer contributions are another reason it may feel like health insurance costs are rising. Workers with employee-sponsored healthcare coverage are spending more of their hard-earned dollars on health insurance. In the last decade, workers’ monthly contributions to employer-provided health insurance for family coverage increased by 54%.

Possible Remedies for High Individual & Employer Plan Costs

The best solution for an individual or family dealing with rising health insurance costs is to do some homework.
  1. Take inventory on what your typical healthcare needs and spending look like. 
  2. Get educated on the different plans and cost-shares (copays, coinsurance, and deductibles) that accommodate them. 
  3. Find out if you are eligible for tax subsidies that can significantly lower the cost of premiums. 
  4. Make a careful decision to match your needs to a plan that works best for you.
An easy way to quickly complete these steps is to shop with HealthMarkets and find your FitScore™, which allows you to easily compare plans based your specific needs.

If you receive employer-sponsored healthcare, it’s important to weigh your options. Find out the types of plans offered and any potential benefits available, such as Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions. You can also look into supplemental insurance coverage, which will help cover your out-of-pocket costs in the event of an accident or hospitalization.

HealthMarkets Can Help 

If you are still feeling lost, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Even with health insurance costs constantly changing, we can help you weigh your options, find benefits that suit your individual needs, and check for your available tax subsidies. We provide unbiased help at no charge and will help you find plans for the same price you’d pay directly from the insurer. Get started online now.


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References:
https://www.milliman.com/en/insight/2019-milliman-medical-index | https://www.kff.org/health-reform/state-indicator/marketplace-average-benchmark-premiums/ | https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/benefits/pages/hhs-proposes-2020-oop-maximums.aspx | https://www.kff.org/health-costs/issue-brief/data-note-americans-challenges-health-care-costs/ | https://www.thebalance.com/causes-of-rising-healthcare-costs-4064878 | https://www.kff.org/report-section/ehbs-2019-summary-of-findings/ 

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