WASHINGTON – A typical family of four spends as much annually on health coverage as the cost of buying a Harley-Davidson, according to new analysis of rising health care costs.
Premiums and out-of-pocket costs reached $7,726 in 2018 for those with employer-provided coverage.
And when the employer’s share of the health care costs is included, the family could have bought a Honda Insight for the overall $22,000 price tag.
That’s according to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, which combined data sources to show how much money families with employer coverage are actually spending on their premium contributions, deductibles and co-payments.
“It’s a lot,” tweeted Kaiser Family Foundation vice president Cynthia Cox.
In fact, the analysis found that families’ health care costs have risen twice as fast as wages and three times faster than inflation over the last decade.
Health care costs are a top issue for voters. But the debate among the more than 20 Democrats running for the party’s presidential nomination has centered less on reducing health care costs and more on whether expanding a version of Medicare is the best way to get health coverage to more people.
President Donald Trump has said reducing the cost of prescription drugs is a top priority. But his administration, and members of Congress, are still trying to figure out how to do that.
Meanwhile, a typical family of four with employer coverage spent $4,706 on premiums and $3,020 on out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and co-payments in 2018.
That’s a 67% increase since 2008.
Wages rose 31% during that same time period and inflation increased 21%.
About half the population gets health coverage through an employer.
Workers at large firms contribute about one-third of the total cost of providing health care to their families, with their employers picking up the rest.
The total cost of covering a family with larger employer health insurance was $22,885 in 2018, a 56% increase since 2008.
The increase for workers has been driven in part by rising deductibles, which are playing an increasing role in employer-provided coverage. There’s been a significant increase in both the share of workers who must meet an annual deductible and in the size of the deductible.
“As health spending absorbs a greater portion of household budgets,” the report says, “there are questions about the long-term affordability of some employer plans.”