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Out-of-Pocket Health Care Costs Up, Purchasing Power Down for Consumers

Out-of-pocket costs for health care patients increased more than 25 percent in the first half of 2013 and it’s likely they will increase even more this year, according to a recent report from TransUnion.  While out-of-pocket costs (average patient payment responsibility) on key medical procedures continued to grow at a faster rate, the available revolving credit for consumers declined nearly $1,000 in the last year.

Average patient payment costs increased nearly 38 percent in the past year, from $1,862 in the second quarter of 2012 to $2,568 in the second quarter of 2013. Since the beginning of 2013, patient payment costs have risen more than $500. 

“The trend of growing consumer health care costs continued during the first six months of (2013), and we suspect they may expand even more with the recent one-year grace period granted to some insurers for out-of-pocket expenses,” said Milton Silva-Craig, president of TransUnion Healthcare.

At the same time, the average consumer’s total revolving credit line on products such as bank-issued credit cards, store credit cards and home equity loans dropped from $34,855 in the second quarter of 2012 to $33,884 in the second quarter of 2013.

As a result, consumers have seen their health care purchasing power decrease. In the second quarter of 2012, consumers had $1,870 in revolving credit for every $100 in health care costs. In the second quarter of 2013, consumers had $1,320 in revolving credit for every $100 in health care costs.

“A 30 percent decline in health care purchasing power is quite significant, especially when this takes place in one year’s time. More and more, health care costs are pushing the consumer to their financial limits where they may need to prioritize which bills to pay first,” said Silva-Craig. The full report is available at http://bit.ly/IiPjnb.

Last modified onTuesday, 14 January 2014 20:53

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