More Americans Say Health Premiums Went Up Over Past Year
Monday, December 7th, 2015
Nearly three in four American adults (74%) who pay all or some of their
health insurance premiums say the amount they pay has gone up over the past year. This percentage is up marginally from the 67% who last year said their costs increased, but it is generally in line with what Gallup has found in yearly updates since 2003.
These latest data, from Gallup's annual Health and Healthcare poll, come as many insurers have raised premiums -- as well as deductibles, copays and coinsurance -- for plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Meanwhile, growth in national spending on healthcare has accelerated, increasing 5.3% in 2014, according to a report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. According to the American Academy of Actuaries, premium costs, in general, will increase for the next several years because of various market factors, and Americans should plan for such increases.
Yearly increases have been the norm, but Americans are feeling them more sharply than usual. Since 2003, the large majority of adults who pay all or some of their premiums have consistently reported that their costs have gone up. However, until now, many more said the costs went up "a little" than "a lot." In the latest poll, the two figures are nearly tied, with 38% saying costs went up a little and 36% saying a lot. The shift comes from an eight-percentage-point increase this year in those saying their costs rose a lot, bringing it to the highest Gallup has measured since first asking the question in 2003.
Insured Adults Have Taken on More of the Premium Costs Since '01
Americans with healthcare insurance are also seeing less support from employers in paying premiums. More than a quarter of insured adults (28%) say they pay the full amount of their premiums, on the high of the trend dating back to 2001. Meanwhile, 10% say an employer pays all of the cost of their premiums, which is down by more than half from the high of 24% in 2001, but fairly consistent with recent figures.
That leaves the majority of insured Americans sharing the costs of their insurance with an employer. But the current figure of 58% is on the low end of the trend since 2001. Much of that decline occurred in the past two years since implementing the ACA.
Though Americans are still more likely to be satisfied than dissatisfied with their personal healthcare costs, the latest poll indicates they are more likely to be grappling with higher premium costs than in previous years.
Healthcare costs remain a top issue for Americans and one that about a third say led them to put off medical treatment for themselves or a relative. While they have become more amenable to the concept of the government being responsible for providing healthcare, Americans remain overall disapproving of the Affordable Care Act.
What Americans pay for their healthcare premiums has not noticeably improved since the ACA's implementation, and experts have stressed that a rise in premiums will continue for several years. Meanwhile, the White House contends that recent premium increases would have been larger if not for the ACA.