A recent policy brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation intriguingly dealt with the effects of well-documented medical insurance premium increases and cost sharing on senior citizens and young workers.
“This analysis examines the relative burdens of out-of-pocket spending on seniors and younger adults,” the Kaiser Web site said. “Seniors consistently spent a larger share of their income out of pocket on health care than younger people. Given the persistent differences between young and old, it suggests that even with Medicare’s prescription drug benefit, significantly narrowing the wide gap between seniors and younger adults in their out-of-pocket spending burdens is unlikely.”
Some things the report mentions:
- From 2000-05, average in-network deductibles for PPOs (as opposed to HMOs), almost doubled, while average monthly premiums for family coverage rose by two-thirds.
- During the same time frame, median (the point at which half of all families earn more and half earn less) family income rose by about 10 percent.
- During the same time frame, Medicare Part B premiums rose by 72 percent, while premiums rose by 35 percent for a popular “Medigap” plan.
- In 2003, median per-capita health care expenditures were five times higher for seniors than for others.
“Our findings document a persistent gap in financial burden between young and old which could have important implications for ongoing policy discussions in several areas, including the generosity of coverage for working age adults, rising health care costs, entitlements and more fundamental questions about the appropriateness of shifting more costs onto consumers,” the report states.
The main thing to keep in mind is that this cost growth shows no signs of stopping. Any thoughts? E-mail me below.