Health insurance deductibles are growing six times faster than wages, study finds.
The New York Times (9/22, Abelson, Subscription Publication) reports that the “steady upward creep in health insurance deductibles has easily outpaced the average increase in a worker’s wages over the last five years, according to a new analysis released on Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation.” The study estimates that deductibles have grown six times faster than wages since 2010. “It’s a very powerful trend,” said Kaiser Family Foundation CEO Drew Altman. According to the analysis, four of five workers who get health insurance through their employer now pay a deductible.
The Wall Street Journal (9/23, Mathews, Subscription Publication) reports that the average deductible for individual coverage this year was $1,318, compared with $1,217 in 2014 and $917 five years ago.
The Washington Post (9/23, Johnson) reports that the steady rise in deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs means that “while the country has famously been in a period of historically slow growth in health-care costs, due largely to the recession, that moderation has been nearly invisible to many people.” Altman stated, “I don’t see anything on the horizon that will, at least for now, stop the steady growth we’re seeing in deductibles. I do think we’re at the beginnings of a discussion about the growing deductibles and what’s good and bad about them, and for whom.”
Bloomberg News (9/23, Tracer) says one reason for the high deductibles is the ACA’s so-called Cadillac tax, which takes effect in 2018. The tax is a 40-percent levy “on individual plans with premiums exceeding $10,200 or family plans costing more than $27,500.” Altman said that if the Cadillac tax goes into effect, “we’re likely to see a spurt” in high deductibles.
AMA wire 9.24.15