Healthcare can be expensive, even with insurance
by jerry on November 14, 2020
NPR published a piece about a recent study that estimated the number of Americans that experienced "catastrophic medical expenses" (defined as spending more than 40% of income after food and housing costs). While we hear about people facing expensive medical bills, there is some expectation that those with health insurance should be shield from devastating financial effects from healthcare expenditures. The study referenced in the article found that about 6 million Americans (ages between 20 and 64) with private health insurance suffered "catastrophic medical expenses" in 2017. That translates to about 3.5% of the US population in that age range experiencing expensive medical bills despite having private insurance.
One of the study's authors cited high-deductible plans and out-of-network medical bills as being two reasons that insurance might not have offered adequate financial protection. Despite the push for more Americans to get insurance coverage, little progress has been achieved by way of managing the underlying costs.