Employers shifting more costs to workers

Recently released results from a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust found employers continue to shift expenses to workers, with deductibles rising substantially faster than total health costs.

According to the survey, 46 percent of covered workers have a deductible of at least $1,000 this year for single coverage, with more than a fifth of workers facing deductibles of more than $2,000.

“The so-called great slowdown in health care costs has been all but invisible to consumers because deductibles have been going up so much faster than their wages,” said Drew Altman, KFF’s CEO.

We at the Alliance want to help people become savvy consumers of health care, though we still have a long way to go before consumers have the full picture they need to make decisions. Helping patients understand cost, quality and patient experience and how these components lead to value in health care can help them make better decisions and lower the cost of health care for all of us, but it’s not a panacea. Shifting too many costs to consumers can end up costing the system more in the long run if patients can’t afford their deductible and avoid going to the doctor when a condition could be more easily treated. If patients who have a high deductible wait to seek care when things become harder to treat, then we still have a lot of work to do to smooth out the issues in our health care system.

Published: October 16, 2015

About Washington Health Alliance

The Washington Health Alliance is a place where stakeholders work collaboratively to transform Washington state’s health care system for the better. The Alliance brings together organizations that share a commitment to drive change in our health care system by offering a forum for critical conversation and aligned efforts by stakeholders: purchasers, providers, health plans, consumers and other health care partners. The Alliance believes strongly in transparency and offers trusted and credible reporting of progress on measures of health care quality and value. The Alliance is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit with more than 185 member organizations. A cornerstone of the Alliance's work is the Community Checkup, a report to the public comparing the performance of medical groups, hospitals and health plans and offering a community-level view on important measures of health care quality (www.wacommunitycheckup.org).

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