73.3 million Americans are enrolled in employer-sponsored health insurance. Two in 3 of these enrollees were in a plan that required them to meet an annual deductible. The average annual deductible for a single insured was $682 in 2006, and $1,300 for a family deductible.

The lowest deductibles were paid by people working in state and local government ($462). The highest were paid by construction workers, which were very nearly twice the deductibles of government employees at $934.

A deductible is a fixed dollar amount that an insured must pay during a plan benefit year before a plan starts to pay for medical services.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) brings you this analysis as part of its MEPS Statistic Brief Series (#219), in a report called Co-pays, Deductibles, and Coinsurance Percentages for Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance in the Non-Federal Workforce, by Industry Classification, 2006.

A note about statistical methodology: these data do not include Federal employees.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: Please don’t let the long title of this Brief scare you away from taking a look at some of its fine print. These are important data. Where an American citizen works not only determines whether he/she has access to health insurance, but the industry in which one works greatly determines one’s financial responsibility for personal health care financing. A state or local government job provided the most generous health benefits in 2006 in terms of required co-pays and deductibles, and had one of the lowest coinsurance rates for office visits, as well. Insured workers with relatively higher health cost burdens include those in construction, wholesale and retail trade.

What’s important to ponder within the data points by industry is how and whether workers can afford to cover these financial responsibilities within the constraints of their salary pay scales. A growing proportion of uninsurance in American has been among workers who are offered health insurance at the workplace but have refused because of the large percentage of disposable income that the health costs — premiums, co-pays, deductibles, and coinsurance — consumes.

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