Feb 7, 2019

More Americans are underinsured

Data: The Commonwealth Fund; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

The number of underinsured Americans — meaning, people whose out-of-pocket costs eat up a significant percentage of their income — is steadily climbing, according to a new survey by the Commonwealth Fund.

By the numbers: The increase has been sharpest among those who get insurance through their employers, rising from 17% of insured workers in 2010 to 28% last year, representing 44 million Americans.

  • In the individual insurance market, the rate of underinsured consumers has gone from 37% to 42% in the same time frame.

Why it matters: A person is considered underinsured if their out-of-pocket spending exceeds 5-10% of their income, or if their deductible is more than 5% of their income.

  • By definition, those are patients who have a harder time paying their medical bills.
  • And patients with high deductibles are also more exposed to the full cost of health care services, contributing to the public outcry over health care costs.

Go deeper: Workers' health care costs just keep rising

Go deeper

Many Americans still can't afford medical expenses

Reproduced from Gallup; Note: ±4 percentage point margin of error; Chart: Axios Visuals

The latest poll from Gallup shows more Americans are putting off medical care because of the cost.

Why it matters: Despite a declining unemployment rate and growing GDP, an increasing number of Americans say they are forgoing often necessary medical procedures because of the cost.

Go deeperArrowJan 15, 2020

The U.S. medical administrative bloat

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

In 2017, U.S. insurers and providers spent $2,497 per capita on administration — nearly 5 times more than the $551 spent per capita in Canada, which has a much more heavily socialized system, according to a new study in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Why it matters: We're all paying this through our premiums, out-of-pocket costs and taxes.

Go deeperArrowJan 8, 2020

Hospital charges surge over last 2 decades, especially in the ER

Reproduced from Thomas M. Selden, 2019, "Differences Between Public and Private Hospital Payment Rates Narrowed"; Chart: Axios Visuals

The rates charged by hospitals — especially for emergency department care — have skyrocketed over the last two decades, according to a new study in Health Affairs.

Why it matters: While most patients with insurance don't pay these prices for their care — insurers typically negotiate lower rates — those who are uninsured or out-of-network often do.

Go deeperArrowJan 7, 2020