Medical Insurance Costs In America

Medical Insurance Costs In America
Health insurance is one of the most expensive things to purchase in America, yet ironically it’s truly one thing residents cannot afford to live without. America is the only industrialised country on earth that relies strongly on the for-profit health insurance sector to provide the bulk of its healthcare. Every year the cost of medical insurance rises in course with rising administrative costs as well as the drive for insurance companies to continue making their profits.

The effect on average Americans is painful. Nearly 60 per cent of Americans who are employed get their health insurance through their employer. The company typically pays more than half the annual premium while the employee covers the rest. In 2009, the average worker contribution to their health coverage was US$3,500 per year. This factors out to around US$300 every month towards insurance one hopes will never have to be used.

A survey conducted by Kaiser Family Foundation in 2009 found that average employer health insurance premiums added up to more than US$13,000 for a family and nearly US$5,000 for an individual. Of course, millions of Americans are not employed full time and don’t qualify for work-sponsored medical insurance. For them the only alternative is a private plan.

The costs for an annual plan range widely depending on the scope of coverage, the deductable, the number of people in the family and pre-existing health conditions. A survey conducted in 2010 found that the typical annual premium for a family was US$6,300 and for a single person US$3,000. The costs of private medical insurance plans also vary widely from state to state. In New York it is far higher than in Iowa.

Even if you have insurance coverage, you will almost always pay something out of pocket when you visit the doctor. Out-of-pocket expenses come into play for things and services not covered by your premium. This can include certain medications, copayments and other arrangements with your insurer.

The deductable is the first line of defense, and when you visit a doctor you will have to pay this amount before your insurance even kicks in to cover the rest. In general, the higher your deductable the lower your annual premium. Coinsurance is another way to lower your annual premium by agreeing to pay up to 20 per cent of the total costs of the medical care beyond the deductable you will also pay up front.

Copayment is another option where a flat fee is charged to you for specific medical services each time you use them. This is popular with HMO plans and drug plans. The government Medicare and Medicaid programs for the elderly and impoverished also have varying costs for the patient. The bottom line is that medical care is very expensive in America, even with insurance. But without it, even a seemingly minor thing like a broken leg or a couple of nights in hospital can run into the thousands of dollars.