Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

A Number Is Worth a Thousand Words

The Kaiser Family Foundation's latest Employer Benefits Survey is out, and they've got some numbers worth remembering.

The average cost of a family health insurance policy in 2009 was $13,375.

Over the past ten years, premiums have increased by 131 percent, while wages have grown 38 percent and inflation has grown 28 percent.

If health-care costs grow as fast as they have over the past five years, the average premium for a family policy in 2019 will be $24,180. If they grow as fast as they have over the past 10 years, premiums in 2019 will average $30,803.

No one quite knows when, or how, the system will crumble. But make no mistake. At this rate of increase, it will, eventually, crumble. Want more numbers? They're here.

By Ezra Klein  |  September 15, 2009; 4:08 PM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Bush Presidency in One Line
Next: Watching Wall Street Watch Obama

Comments

Want more numbers?

No I want my medicare for all as an option. Why is this so hard to get into the healthcare reform bill? I am tired of being held hostage by the limited provider network of my company health care plan.

Posted by: srw3 | September 15, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

"If something cannot go on forever, it will stop."

Now, Herb Stein promulgated that line to argue that it wasn't worth the effort to stop something that cannot go on forever. However, that approach doesn't really address the consequences of letting something continue until it stops. In the case of health premiums, that means eating into discretionary income, savings, retirement funds, mortgage payments, grocery bills and every cent it can grab hold of.

It is economic kudzu.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | September 15, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

A radical healthcare proposal would include people paying for their own healthcare with their own money. I know that might be totally foreign to some people here but it seems to work quite well for food, cars, computers and all kinds of other stuff.

Posted by: kingstu01 | September 15, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Proving yet again that we have a cost problem in the US, not an insurance problem. And nothing the democrats are currently discussing will do anything substantial to lower the cost of healthcare.

Posted by: spotatl | September 15, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

kingstu01 keeps repeating his/her mantra, I see.

If kingstu01 could come up with a working example in the developed world of "people paying for their own healthcare with their own money", particularly for such things as heart attacks, stroke, cancer, and incapacitating accidents, then he/she might have a point. But since he/she is operating out of the Department of Bad Analogies, it's probably best that he/she stay in the dunce corner.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | September 15, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Amazing, 131 percent … I wonder if all the protesters on the right can count that high. But then again, most think that Hawaii was a foreign country in 1961. Just goes to show we need to reform the education system in this country, too!

Posted by: gmgaston203 | September 15, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

kingstu01...food, cars,computers are all either highly discretionary or highly budgetable. It is very hard to "decide" to have an emergency septic gallbladder removal or budget for it. Coming up with the $32,000 it cost would be a problem for the vast majority of us.

Posted by: scott1959 | September 15, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Subsidy always leads to higher prices.

Posted by: WrongfulDeath | September 15, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

With our without Obamacare, the system will crumble by employers continuing to drop coverage and moving to high-deductible plans. This gives providers further incentive to ditch their marginally profitable business (actually caring for patients) and head for the higher ground of more sleep apnea studies, Botox, and robot-guided astrobeam therapy.

We don't need a system that creates more divergence of interests between patients and providers. We need one where the government plays an active role in making sure those interests are aligned. One were the essential stuff gets taken care of first and then if money's left over people can get their third repeat MRI.

Posted by: bmull | September 16, 2009 12:57 AM | Report abuse

Can somebody confirm a factual issue for me? That $13K figure DOES NOT include out-of-pocket spending on actual care, correct? It's premiums, right? If you have a $1,500 deductible, the cost is $13k + $1,500 + whatever else co-insurance, right?

Posted by: bitown1 | September 16, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Want more numbers?

No I want my medicare for all as an option. Why is this so hard to get into the healthcare reform bill? I am tired of being held hostage by the limited provider network of my company health care plan.

Posted by: srw3 | September 15, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

haha. I love when people assume THEIR doctor will participate in an HR 676 style plan. Good luck. Once they mandate that your doctor HAS TO accept that plan your doctor is retiring to an island somewhere. Count on it.

Posted by: visionbrkr | September 16, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

"Once they mandate that your doctor HAS TO accept that plan your doctor is retiring to an island somewhere. Count on it."

To use the phrase that visionbreaker tossed at me: don't let the door hit your ass on the way out. If your doctor doesn't want to be a doctor any more if he can't have a distorted American income, then it's probably best for that person to go and drink daiquiris by the pool, because he/she was in medicine for the wrong reasons.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | September 16, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

bitown1....correct. These are premiums. Out of pocket spending on deductibles, copays, coinsurance, etc are on top of this.

Posted by: scott1959 | September 16, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

visionbrkr....although surprisingly, a public option (not HR 676 single payer) got a majority support in a recent poll of the traditionally conservative AMA members.

Posted by: scott1959 | September 16, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company