Rising health costs hit poor families hardest

Adapted from a JPMorgan Chase Institute report; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans are spending more money out of our own pockets every year on health care, and that trend is placing a bigger burden on poorer families than on wealthier ones.

By the numbers: The lowest-income households spend nearly 3% of their take-home pay on out-of-pocket health care costs, compared to about 1% for the wealthiest families, according to new research from the JPMorgan Chase Institute.

That gap is widening. The overall growth in the burden of health care costs is modest, overall, but it’s higher for poor families than rich ones.

Rising out-of-pocket spending is driving these trends, per JPMorgan. According to its report, out-of-pocket spending grew by 8.5% last year — the fastest clip in at least three years.

Why it matters: Substantial out-of-pocket costs, like high deductibles and coinsurance, are designed to give people more exposure to what their care really costs. And their exposure to those costs does seem to be increasing.

  • There’s just not much evidence that patients are able to become "better customers" as a result.