Even “good” insurance can come with many unintended hospital bills. A study by the University of Michigan showed that even those who have quality private insurance may expect to pay in excess of $1,000 after a hospital admission, and most of those fees are hidden until they receive the bill.
These costs have risen more than 37 percent in recent years.
Study author Emily Adrion said the following about the research:
“We found that between the co-payments that the better-insured have to make right when they walk in the door, and the deductibles they have to reach before any insurance actually kicks in, and the percentage of the cost of care that 85 percent of patients are still responsible for even after insurance kicks in, the final bill is high and getting higher.”
Deductibles are often responsible for the highest hidden costs. If a patient even pays 15% of treatment, that is extremely expensive. It means a very high out-of-pocket sum. And that’s just for those who have “good insurance.” Those with lesser insurance can be expected to pay even more in the form of deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance, which blows the price up astronomically.
Researchers on the study analyzed 7.3 million claims from between 2009 to 2013 with data from the Health Care Cost Institute. All of the claims were processed by one of the major insurance companies: Aetna, Humana and UnitedHealthcare.
The average cost of a hospitalization rose from $738 in 2009 to $1013 in 2013. Deductibles were also a big part of the rise in cost, with customers paying $145 in 2009, up to $270 in 2013.
Kaiser senior vice president Larry Levitt said:
“Out-of-pocket health costs are increasing rapidly for people with health insurance at the same time that wages have been stagnant. This can be a particular challenge for low-wage workers, who often don’t have enough savings to cover a financial emergency like a major illness.”
For many around the country, however, this study isn’t news to them. The Affordable Care Act was instituted after the years analyzed in the study, so researchers may revisit the facts in a few years to see how that has changed the game.
But, for millions of ill individuals, they know all too well the realities of this issue.