Lee-Ellen Macon had beaten breast cancer once.
So when she went to the doctor this spring with what she thought was a slight thyroid issue, and instead received a stage IV cancer recurrence diagnosis, she was terrified.
“That’s the worst cancer you can have,” said Macon, 57. “Hardly anybody can recover from that.”
Almost as scary was Macon’s subsequent discovery: Her out-of-network deductible was $4,000.
That meant she had to pay at least that much out of pocket for care before her coverage kicked in. Many people don’t meet their deductibles every year.
“That’s a lot to have to pay, when you’re a teacher,” said Macon, who makes about $50,000 a year teaching eighth grade English and special education at a public school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Combined with the more than $1,000 Macon already paid in premiums last year, she joined the ranks of Americans paying more than 10% of her income for health insurance.
According to a new report by The Commonwealth Fund, rising premium and deductibles contributions have outstripped wage growth over the past decade. More and more middle-class Americans are paying a greater percentage of earnings for health care.
The report analyzed survey data from 40,000 private-sector employers, as well as income data from the Census Bureau.
Median household income in the United States between 2008 and 2018 grew 1.9% per year on average, rising from $53,000 to $64,202.
But middle-class employees’ premium and deductible contributions rose much faster — nearly 6% per year over that same decade.
In 2008, middle-class workers spent about 7.8% of household income on premiums and deductibles. By 2018, that figure had climbed to 11.5%.
For workers in Mississippi and Louisiana, like Macon, those numbers look even worse.
In Louisiana, middle-class workers faced spending an average of 15.9% of their income on premiums and deductibles. In Mississippi, the most burdened state in the nation, middle-class workers faced the potential of spending 16.9%.
Read the rest at: BAD ACA