Inside America’s high-deductible revolution
With healthcare costs topping the list of Americans’ anxieties, the Times undertook a comprehensive examination of the nation’s affordability crisis and the toll it’s taking on working Americans and their families.
Once well-protected by insurance, Americans with job-based benefits experienced a dramatic erosion in coverage as deductibles skyrocketed over the last decade, subjecting tens of millions to medical bills they can’t afford.
To examine the impact of this revolution – often overshadowed by the Obamacare debate – the Times brought together original data analysis and polling with an exhaustive review of academic literature and extensive interviews with experts and insured Americans across the country.
This series draws on a nationwide survey undertaken in partnership with the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation, as well as original research conducted with the Health Care Cost Institute and the Employee Benefit Research Institute, two Washington, D.C., think tanks.
Soaring deductibles and medical bills are pushing millions of American families to the breaking point, fueling an affordability crisis that is pulling in middle-class households with health insurance as well as the poor and uninsured.
Clarisa Corber hopes someday to get medication for depression and acne.
Healthcare costs have been an issue for decades.
Wendy Matney hesitated to tell her family not to call 911.
Middle-class Americans are bearing the brunt of the rise in health insurance deductibles and medical bills. That’s helped widen political divisions.Middle-class Americans are bearing the brunt of the rise in health insurance deductibles and medical bills. That’s helped widen political divisions.
Medical charities and crowd-funding have long helped fill the gaps for Americans who lack health coverage. Increasingly now, charity has also become a lifeline for Americans who have insurance but still can’t pay their bills — a result of a revolution in health insurance that has seen deductibles more than triple.
People in other wealthy countries find Americans’ health insurance deductibles hard to understand.
Despite rising deductibles, Americans still can’t shop for medical care.
A hotel workers union in Boston offers members a plan with no deductible. Their case shows how costs can be kept in check and the trade-offs required.
Skyrocketing health insurance deductibles have transformed job-based health insurance in the U.S. over the last decade, leaving many Americans with unaffordable medical bills and forcing many to postpone medical care, cut back on essentials such as food and housing and make other difficult sacrifices.
The Los Angeles Times/Kaiser Family Foundation survey of adults with employer-sponsored health insurance is based on interviews with a probability-based sample of 1,407 respondents between the ages of 18 and 64 who reported having health insurance from an employer or union (excluding those covered by a parent’s employer).