Financial Burden of Health Care, 2001-2004

January/February 2008
Health Affairs Vol. 27, No. 1
Jessica S. Banthin, Peter J. Cunningham, Didem M. Bernard

Analysis of data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) shows that rising out-of-pocket expenses and stagnant incomes increased health spending’s financial burden for families in 2001–2004, especially for the privately insured. High financial burdens among those with nongroup coverage increased by more than one-third. Despite evidence of increased cost sharing in private insurance plans, this analysis does not show that privately insured people paid a higher share of their total health care bill in 2004 compared to 2001. Financial burdens have increased to the point at which private insurance is no longer able to provide financial protection for an increasing number of families.

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