Americans are much more likely to have trouble paying medical bills or getting a quick appointment with a doctor than their peers in 10 other high-income, industrialized countries, according to a new study.
Even Americans with insurance are more likely to forgo care because of high costs and to struggle to pay big bills, according to the survey, conducted by The Commonwealth Fund. And the United States spends far more on health care per person than other nations, to the tune of $3,000 more per head than the next closest nation.
Most of the other countries in the survey have public insurance systems with varying roles for the private market, but the report also includes ones with competing insurers, such as Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands. The U.S. is alone in its complexity of health insurance plans, mix of public and private insurance programs and relatively limited regulations.
This leads to Americans paying a lot more out-of-pocket than their counterparts.
The higher prices, however, don't mean we get to jump to the head of the line when it comes to seeing a doctor or nurse when we're sick.
That means we're more likely to go to the emergency room for treatment.
One of the few advantages we have in healthcare is the ease in getting to see a specialist.
The Affordable Care Act will help address some of these disparities, said Cathy Schoen, the survey's author. Many uninsured Americans who have had trouble affording and accessing care will be covered starting in 2014. Also, the policies will be more comprehensive so patients won't be surprised by a treatment not being covered or by annual limits of coverage.
But even under Obamacare, as ACA is known, Americans will still pay more for health care than peers elsewhere because many plans carry deductibles that run into the thousands of dollars. The annual out-of-pocket spending limit for individuals is $6,350, while families may pay up to $12,700.
"The insurance in the exchanges will continue to have much higher cost sharing than in other countries," Schoen said.
Don't be surprised if you're shelling out more for health care on the job next year.
After several years of relatively moderate spending increases, health care costs are set to jump in 2014.
Employees will spend just under $5,000 on premiums and out-of-pocket expenses next year, according to new research by Aon Hewitt, an employee benefits administrator. That's up 9.5% from the year before.
This is because overall health care spending will increase MORETami Luhby - Oct 22, 2013 5:00 AM ET
Thinking of retiring early? Hope you have a lot socked away for medical expenses.
That's because health care costs can add up quickly when you aren't yet eligible for Medicare, which kicks in at age 65.
Someone who retires today at age 55 will spend an average of $119,600 over the next 10 years on insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, said Dale Yamamoto, who authored a report on medical spending on behalf MORETami Luhby - May 16, 2013 11:05 AM ET
When Suzanne Eva Lain praised Obamacare in a recent CNNMoney article, she never thought it would earn her a ticket to the White House.
But after a member of the Obama administration read that she can't wait for Obamacare to start, officials invited her to attend an event at the White House on Friday at which the president expounded on how the Affordable Care Act has helped women and their families. MORETami Luhby - May 14, 2013 10:42 AM ET
Average health insurance premiums for employer-sponsored family coverage soared 62% between 2003 and 2011, far outpacing the rise in wages, a new study found.
By 2011, there were 35 states in which the annual premium equaled 20% or more of income, according to a study issued Wednesday by The Commonwealth Fund. This compares to just one state in 2003.
Premiums in the south and south-central United States were the highest relative to MORETami Luhby - Dec 12, 2012 12:16 PM ET
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