Escalating health insurance premiums for Ohio workers have outstripped pay increases since 2000, growing at a rate nearly nine times as fast as wages. Whether it’s an office visit, outpatient surgery or a simple preventive physical or OBGYN visit, more than likely, your pocketbook is lighter than before.
The average cost to workers for a family insurance plan grew more than 80 percent from 2000 to 2007. Wages during the same time rose just 8.9 percent, according to a study by Families USA. The nonprofit national health advocacy organization analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the study. Normal inflationary factors were considered in the research.
The good news, is that private healthcare costs in Ohio, when compared to other states, are still low. Of course, there are still many residents without medical coverage. A solid majority of Ohioans feel so strongly that all Americans should have health care that they are willing to experience some pain themselves — in the wallet. Fifty-six percent in a Columbus Dispatch Poll say expanded health care accompanied by higher taxes is preferable to lower taxes with fewer people covered.
Of course, sometimes when legislation is proposed that actually increases taxes to help pay medical coverage for persons not presently covered, it typically does not pass on the state level. It would take a federal mandate (which must be passed) to provide millions of persons benefits that they can not afford to purchase. Or, in some situations, they choose to spend their money on other items!
At an estimated $2.4 trillion this year, costs of the U.S. healthcare industry have doubled in the last decade, increasing scrutiny and demands for efficiency in both the private and public sectors. Total spending could increase from 16 percent of the gross domestic product last year to a quarter in 2025 — and nearly a half by 2082, predicts the Congressional Budget Office. Unless the cost curve is slowed…and eventually reversed, the country won’t be able to sustain this growth.