Premium Increases Slow, Out-of-Pocket Expenses Rise in 2015

A Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that while premiums have only risen about four percent in 2015 on average, deductibles have been rising faster than total health costs—and faster than wages. On average, deductibles have risen about seven times faster than wages, which have stayed relatively flat.

About half of all covered workers have a deductible of more than $1,000, while about one-fifth have deductibles of more than $2,000. While premiums have risen about 25 percent since 2010, deductibles have risen by about 65 percent. Plan sponsors are increasing cost-sharing for plan participants because of factors like rising overall health care costs and the looming Affordable Care Act “Cadillac Tax.”

Additionally, the rising cost of prescription drugs has made news headlines this year. Generic drugs are increasing in price for a number of reasons, including profit-driven price hikes by pharmaceutical manufacturers, manufacturing monopolies, shortages of raw materials and lack of regulation regarding drug prices in the U.S. Plan sponsors are coping with the rising prices of name brand drugs by adding price tiers to prescription plans, particularly tiers for specialty drugs.

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