Majority of Adults Dissatisfied With Health Insurance Costs
Fifty-two percent of U.S. adults are dissatisfied with health insurance costs, compared with 33% in 2005, according to the ninth annual Health Confidence Survey released on Tuesday by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, the Los Angeles Times reports. The telephone survey included responses from 1,000 adults and had a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.
According to the survey, about 60% of respondents said that their health insurance costs -- which include premiums, deductibles and copayments -- had increased in the past year, and more than half said that they saved less as a result (Alonso-Zaldivar, Los Angeles Times, 10/25). Among respondents who said that their health insurance costs had increased, 36% said that they decreased retirement savings, compared with 25% in 2004, and 28% said that health insurance costs affected their ability to pay for basic necessities this year, compared with 18% in 2004, the survey found (Gerencher, Dow Jones Business News, 10/25).
According to Paul Fronstin, director of the health research and education program at EBRI, the survey indicates that adults would rather decrease their retirement savings than lose their health insurance. "We've always known when workers rank their benefits, health care ranks much higher than retirement benefits and that's because people, when focusing on benefits, are focusing on what they need now rather than what they will need 20, 30, 40 years from now," he said (Dow Jones Business News, 10/25).
Fronstin added that, although health insurance premiums have increased by lower rates for three consecutive years, the increase in the rate this year "is still double the rate of increase of workers' earnings and double the rate of inflation" (AP/Arizona Daily Star, 10/25).
EBRI President Dallas Salisbury said, "Individuals are not seeing their real income go up because their employers are spending more on health care. And individuals themselves are spending more on health care" (Los Angeles Times, 10/25).
Jerry Ripperger -- director of consumer health for the Principal Financial Group, an underwriter of the survey -- said, "Due to rising costs, Americans are falling behind in savings and struggling to handle even basic expenses, which over time has had a significant impact on their confidence in the health care system" (AP/Arizona Daily Star, 10/25).
The survey is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the survey.