Employer-based health care hits poorer Americans' paychecks hardest

Employer-based health care hits poorer Americans' paychecks hardest

Those earning 199 percent of federal poverty level or less pay 14 percent of their income for premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

By Scott Wooldridge | April 18, 2019

The ACA has shielded some from rising costs, but for lower-income Americans who have employer-sponsored, private insurance plans, premiums and out-of-pocket costs have continued to rise. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Having a job—and the employer-sponsored health insurance that usually goes with it—is not a guarantee that an individual or family won’t face financial hardship due to medical costs, according to a new analysis. The study finds that the percentage of income spent on health care by poorer Americans is more than three times the percentage spent by the wealthiest Americans.

The proposition that lower-income workers are more vulnerable to health care costs may not be surprising news, but the brief from the Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker provides real numbers in measuring the cost challenges that lower-income Americans face, even within the system of private, employer-based health insurance.

Related: 4 reasons employer-sponsored health insurance won’t go away

The website, which aims to monitor the country’s performance in terms of health care quality and cost, looked at data from the Current Population Survey. The researchers found that “lower-income families spend a greater share of their income on health costs than those with higher incomes, and that health status of family members is associated with higher out-of-pocket expenses.”

READ MORE: https://www.benefitspro.com/2019/2019/04/18/employer-based-health-care-hits-poorer-americans-paychecks-hardest/

Jo Ann Charron