Sunday, April 19, 2009

How health care costs contribute to income disparity in US

The McKinsey Quarterly - health care costs income disparity US - Economic Studies - Country Reports

Over the past 50 years, US workers have come to expect employers to pay for some part of employee health insurance; many consider this an important part of overall compensation. However, recent economic trends have resulted in a growing disparity in health care coverage and affordability. A study by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) identified three divergent categories of workers that are emerging from trends in health care coverage and income growth.

The top-income category (earning on average $210,100 annually1) has enjoyed rising incomes and growing employer-paid health care benefits, which have made their out-of-pocket spending on health care a relatively small and affordable portion of total spending. The higher-middle-income category (earning an average of $84,800 annually) and the lower-middle-income group (earning on average $41,500), have also seen increasing benefits and incomes—but at a much slower rate, making the uncovered portion of their health care costs ever-more expensive. In the bottom-income category (earning an average of $14,800 a year), incomes have been stagnant, and their employers are less likely to pay for their health insurance. This group is finding any health care difficult, if not impossible, to afford.

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