Privately insured see 37% increase in out-of-pocket costs for hospital visits

A University of Michigan study found out-of-pocket costs for hospital visits for privately insured individuals increased 37 percent from 2009 to 2013, Bloomberg reported.

The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine and included data from 50 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 with insurance plans through Aetna, Humana and UnitedHealthcare. Roughly 98 percent of individuals studied purchased employer-sponsored health plans.

The study found while employers used high-deductible health plans to lower premium costs, their employees' out-of-pocket costs rose an average 6.5 percent annually, as overall health spending rose 2.9 percent annually.

Overall, out-of-pocket rates grew at a faster rate than the 5.1 percent increase in premium costs shouldered by employers.

Out-of-pocket payments include copayments, deductibles and coinsurance. Throughout the five years of the study, the average out-of-pocket cost for hospitalization was $1,000, Bloomberg reported. Deductibles rose 86 percent and coinsurance increased 33 percent, while copayments and the number of plans charging them decreased.

Individuals with "consumer-directed" plans, or high-deductible coverage paired with personal savings accounts, saw an average out-of-pocket cost of $1,200, which was $600 less than individuals with private plans, Bloomberg reported. 


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