Study: Health Costs Less Burdensome in Calif. Than in Other States
Insured Californians spent a smaller percentage of their incomes on medical care from 2001 to 2006 than insured residents in most other states, according to a new Center for Studying Health System Change study, the Los Angeles Times reports (Helfand, Los Angeles Times, 3/27).
For the study, published online in the journal Health Affairs, researchers analyzed HHS data on U.S. residents ages 65 and younger from 2001 to 2006 (Allen, Reuters, 3/25). Â
According to the study, 12% of insured California residents faced a "high financial burden" during that time period, spending more than 10% of their family income on insurance premiums and health care services.
California's percentage of insured residents facing a high financial health care burden was the lowest of all 29 states studied from 2004 to 2006.
Nationwide, the percentage of residents with a high financial health care burden increased from 14% in 2001 to 19% in 2006. Health care costs increased most dramatically for those with individual insurance health insurance policies, according to the study.
Researchers attributed California's low rate to:
- The relatively high incomes of Californians; and
- The significant number of residents enrolled in HMOs, which charge lower fees than traditional insurers.
The study did not take into account the recent economic recession or the effect of national health care reform (Los Angeles Times, 3/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.