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New Health Care Index Reports Increases in Consumer Costs

Increase in coverage by public insurance plans, but increasing number of consumers have deductibles

TUESDAY, May 12, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- A new Health Care Index shows increases in consumer costs, according to a report published by U.S. News & World Report.

To analyze health care's changing role in the U.S. economy, U.S. News created an annual Health Care Index that examines trends in specific health areas. The index uses data from various U.S. and international sources, and analyzes key economic factors, including expenditure, medical costs, insurance coverage, health employment, health care education, and international comparisons.

The Health Care Index's base year is 2000, which was set to equal 100.0. For the 2015 index, overall results show an upward trend, although the rate of growth has slowed down. The index shows a decrease in the number of Americans covered by private insurance plans since 2000, and an increase in those covered by public health insurance. There has also been an increase in Medicare enrollment, especially among baby boomers. However, consumers with private insurance have taken on a greater share of costs for their care. Deductibles have seen the most growth from 2002 to 2013, with more than 80 percent of consumers having a deductible in 2013.

"Barring a serious overhaul in the way health care is reimbursed, we anticipate the trends to continue -- the government will become even more involved in health care, and Americans will pay a greater share of their health care costs," Brian Kelly, editor and chief content editor at U.S. News & World Report, said in a statement."

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