Out-of-pocket healthcare costs in Massachusetts climb 6.1 percent in 2 years

A report by an independent state agency showed Massachusetts residents are spending more of their money for healthcare, according to MassLive.com.

The Center for Health Information and Analysis' annual report found total statewide healthcare spending in Massachusetts was $60.9 billion in 2018, or $8,827 per capita. That's up 3.1 percent from 2017, primarily due to increased gross prescription drug spending.

However, at the same time, the center's annual report found that out-of-pocket costs and premiums for fully-insured plans grew substantially faster — 6.1 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively — between 2016 and 2018. The center said this is about twice the rate of inflation and wages.

"An overall growth rate of 3.1 percent ... is a good number and something to be proud of, but it's not the end of the discussion and not the end of the work that needs to be done," Ray Campbell, executive director of the center, told MassLive.com. "We need to look beneath that number at who's bearing what costs."

In 2018, the average Massachusetts member cost-sharing amount climbed 5.6 percent year over year to $55 per month, and the share of commercial members with high-deductible health plans (31.5 percent) continued to increase across most market sectors, according to the agency's annual report.

The center said the report will help inform the Health Policy Commission's 2019 Health Care Cost Trends Hearing, scheduled for Oct. 22 and 23.

Read the full report here.

 

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