PUBLISHED: May 1, 2009
Soaring health care costs hobble Bay State families, study finds
Kay Lazar | The Boston Globe | Link to article
Despite Massachusetts' pioneering health insurance overhaul, over one million residents are in families that are still spending more than 10 percent of their pre-tax income on health care, according to a study released today from Families USA, a nonprofit that lobbies for affordable care.
The vast majority of these families -- roughly 94 percent -- have health insurance, and still the numbers spending more than 10 percent of their income have increased 46 percent since 2000, the study finds.
"High health care costs are not just a problem of the uninsured," said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA.
Nearly 300,000 Bay Staters are in families that will spend more than 25 percent of their pre-tax income on health care , and most of them -- 90 percent -- also have health coverage, Pollack said.
More than 400,000 Massachusetts residents are newly insured since the state in 2006 launched its health initiative, which requires nearly everyone to have coverage or pay a tax penalty.
Nationwide, 64.4 million people under age 65 are in families that will spend more than 10 percent of their income on health care and most also have insurance, according to the study.
Much of the rise in health care costs, the study concludes, is linked to increasing use of prescriptions, pricey new medical screenings, and an insurance market with few consumer protections.