High cost of insurance

by jerry on December 22, 2018
Kaiser Health News published some anecdotes that highlight the cost of healthcare in the U.S. The specific stories are about families struggling with the cost of health insurance. However, underneath the cost of insurance is the cost of care. For decades, many Americans never saw the cost of insurance because their employers paid for most or all of their insurance. As health insurance costs continue to rise, businesses started to shift the cost of health insurance to their employees through higher deductibles or through larger employee portions of the premiums. While millions of Americans were still uninsured, with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, many of those uninsured could purchase health insurance through an insurance exchange. Many qualified for a subsidy and were still shielded from the true cost of insurance. The stories that were published in this article highlight how the high cost of care can affect those whose incomes are high enough to be ineligible for subsidies.

One response to the story would be to try to raise the limits under which people are eligible for subsidies. Under that scenario, the government ends up subsidizing health insurance for more people. Another approach would be to try to reduce underlying cost of care through systematic reforms such as transparent pricing and quality information.