Rethinking Healthcare

Cost of health insurance will surpass income by 2033

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Though it could be as late as 2037 with the Affordable Care Act. A new study shows that the average annual increase in insurance premiums was 8.0% while household incomes rose an average of 2.1%.

From the Annals of Family Medicine: the cost of health insurance will be more than all the money you earn.

That is, according to Richard Young of John Peter Smith Hospital and Jennifer DeVoe from Oregon Health Sciences University.

DeVoe and colleagues previously estimated that the cost of a family health insurance premium would equal the median household income by the year 2025. But after that model was published, there was a slowdown in healthcare spending… so they updated the model.

Now, they estimate that the cost of health insurance for a family will surpass what the household makes by the year 2033.

But maybe as late as 2037… under the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Here are some highlights of the report:

  • The annual inflation rate of health insurance premiums outpaced US household earnings, which stagnated from 2008 to 2011 and included an absolute reduction in average household income from $50,300 in 2008 to $49,800 in 2009.
  • From 2000 to 2009, the average annual increase in insurance premiums was 8.0%; household incomes rose an average of 2.1%.
  • If health insurance premiums and national wages continue to grow at recent rates and the US health system makes no major structural changes, the average cost of a family health insurance premium will equal 50% of the household income by the year 2021…
  • and surpass the average household income by the year 2033 (pictured).
  • If out-of-pocket costs are added to the premium costs, the 50% threshold is crossed by 2018 and exceeds household income by 2030.

So what do you think: does health insurance become moot at some point?

The report, “Who Will Have Health Insurance in the Future? An Updated Projection,” was published in the Annals of Family Medicine this month.

[Via TIME]

Image from Young & DeVoe (2012)

Janet Fang

Contributing Editor

Janet Fang has written for Nature, Discover and the Point Reyes Light. She is currently a lab technician at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. She holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure