You can look at the cost of health care from several perspectives.
There is the basic cost of care driven by prices and utilization. There is the premium you pay and there are your out-of-pocket costs.
Premiums directly reflect the other two factors. You OOP costs directly reflect your utilization of health care.
While there has been some moderation in the trend for prices and utilization, health care inflation is still several times general inflation just as it has been for years.
Premiums are still rising at hefty rates (driven in large part by prescription drugs) in Obamacare exchanges, among employers who are asking workers to pay an ever-increasing higher percentage of the premium, and for Medicare.
In addition, deductibles and co-pays are going up as well, frequently in conjunction with higher premiums. This will accelerate as we get closer to 2018 and the 40% tax on some health plans.
Contrary to policy expert opinion, employers are not making up cuts in health care by giving raises. In fact, I have seen employers give a raise to workers and then take it back by increasing premiums and OOP costs for their health benefits.
So no, unless you avoid care altogether, health care is not affordable. Even among those Americans heavily subsidized by Obamacare it is not affordable. The costs are merely shifted to others.
Where do we go from here?
Categories: Observations on life