Costs to patients continue to rise

May 25, 2013

Out-of-pocket expenditures for patients increased while benefits of employer healthcare coverage became “less generous” from 2007 to 2011.

 

Out-of-pocket expenditures for patients increased while benefits of employer healthcare coverage became “less generous” from 2007 to 2011.

The results from a recent Harvard Medical School study (Chernew, et al.) in Health Affairs examining 10 million enrollees from large firms suggests that although the recession played a role in reducing healthcare growth overall, more factors are at work.

In fact, the study concludes that benefit design changes caused about one-fifth of the growth slowdown during this time period. And increasing out-of-pocket payments played a major role in the overall decline of healthcare spending growth, accounting for approximately 20% of the observed slowdown.

The study concludes that the declines in healthcare spending may be a long-term trend-not short-term as some research has postulated­-and driven solely by the recession.

“Healthcare reform, changes in payment methodologies, such as the use of more global payments, and the transformation of the delivery system’s organization could all have long-lasting effects,” the authors state.