Health Care Costs
Individual and small-group health care coverage in California is unaffordable for moderate and low-income state residents as premiums and out-of-pocket expenses continue to rise, according to a study in the journal Health Affairs.
Researchers found that small-group health insurance premiums rose by more than 50% from 2003 to 2006, while premiums for individual coverage increased by 23% over the same period. At the same time, higher deductibles and a greater reliance on cost-sharing strategies have reduced the value of health insurance coverage for many residents.
According to the authors, the study's findings raise questions about the viability of components of health care reform plans -- including one offered by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) -- that propose requiring individuals to purchase health insurance. Such requirements should be paired with efforts to address health care costs to preserve the affordability and value of health insurance coverage (Gabel et al., Health Affairs, 6/14).