Employer-Sponsored Healthcare Costs On The Rise

Nov 21, 2019

While the average out-of-pocket charges Utahns paid for healthcare decreased from 2014-2016, data from a trend report from The Commonwealth Fund showed employer healthcare costs has been rising since 2017. 

Roughly half the population in the United States are covered by employer healthcare plans. The study says in the past 10 years, the combined cost of employees’ contributions to premiums and deductibles outpaced growth in U.S. median income in every state. This means paying a larger amount out-of-pocket, on average.

Sara Collins, the vice president of Healthcare Coverage and Access at The Commonwealth Fund, said with higher deductibles, people are less likely to get needed healthcare.

“You’re less likely to fill prescriptions that you need, you’re less likely to go to the doctor when you’re sick, so these do act as a financial barrier to care.

People tend, on average, to not use very much healthcare, but the fact of the deductible, the fact that many people — particularly in the mid-range of the income distribution — don’t have that much savings, does act as a disincentive to get needed healthcare.”

In Utah, the average cost of premiums is lower than the national average, but so is the median income rate.

“Median income is big part of the story, but it’s also what employers are asking employees to contribute. Not the same in every city or every county, but on average seems to be flavor we’re seeing.”

The average percentage of annual income going toward healthcare costs in 2017 was 11.5%. In Utah, potential out-of-pocket costs amounted to 8.8% of the median income.