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Healthcare costs keep climbing, and so does our share of them.
Adults with insurance through work paid almost 7 percent more out-of-pocket in 2013 than in 2012, according to a new study from the Health Care Cost Institute, a nonprofit funded partly by insurance companies.
“There’s more high deductible health plans and cost sharing, so the co-pays change,” says Eric Barrette, a senior researcher at the Institute.
The co-pays are going up, of course. High out-of-pocket spending could lead consumers to shop around more. Obviously you don’t want to just look for a bargain. You want a good doctor. But healthcare costs could fall if consumers were a bit more price-sensitive.
“If you’ve got more skin in the game, then you’re going to care much more about where you’re going to,” says Vivian Ho, a health economist at Rice University.
But Ho says it’s hard to get consumers interested in shopping around. It’s tedious.
“And then you’re on the phone with all these people and you get transferred from one place to another,” she says.
Even when you do reach the right person, information can still be really hard to get, and inconsistent. Healthcare prices can vary, in the same state or even city.
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