Costly Coverage: Premiums Outpace Paychecks

Source: Families USA, August 2009

Over the past decade, the cost of health insurance has skyrocketed, while working families’ wages have merely inched upward. As the recession lingers on, this situation continues to worsen. Reduced hours and job losses have left millions of families struggling to afford their share of premiums and millions more with no coverage at all. The combination of stagnant wages and rising health care costs is placing a growing strain on family budgets, and many families have reached a breaking point. Quite simply, America’s families are being priced out of health coverage.

In addition to higher premiums, working families now face higher out-of-pocket health care costs, such as higher deductibles, copayments, and costs for services that are not covered by their insurance plans. As a result, health care costs are consuming an ever-larger portion of family budgets. It is clear why many families feel worse off economically than they did a decade ago.

These state reports, which are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, examine what these trends mean for America’s working families.

State-specific reports are being released August through October, 2009.

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