PPO deductible climbs over $1K for individuals

With healthcare costs continuing to climb, the average annual deductible for individual employees in the U.S. climbed above $1,000 this year, according to a study released by employee benefits consulting firm Mercer.

The study, based on an annual survey of about 2,900 businesses that had at least 10 employees, found that the mean deductible for a fee-for-service health plan grew from $859 last year to $1,001 this year, a jump of just under 17 percent. The increase was driven particularly by companies with less than 500 workers. This growth in deductibles is particularly notable, given that the median deductible stayed steady at approximately $500 between 2000 and 2007, notes the Wall Street Journal.

With this many health plans becoming high-deductible plans, though without the associated healthcare savings account to cover the gap, providers can expect more unpaid bills than ever before. (Bear in mind that health plans don't like it when employers cover the gap, for underwriting reasons, which makes things even worse.) It's not going to be pretty.

To learn more about this study:
- read this Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report piece

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