Patient Cost Sharing

Responding to successive years of double-digit health insurance premium increases, employers continue to restructure health benefits to slow the rise in company costs by increasing patients' financial stake in their care. A new Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) study examines how increased patient cost sharing through higher deductibles, copayments and coinsurance raises patients' out-of-pocket costs. Increased patient cost sharing creates more financial burdens for seriously ill and low-income workers. Concerns about financial hardships for seriously ill and low-income workers may limit employers' ability to slow rising premiums through increased patient cost sharing. (See issue brief and webcast by clicking on links at right.)