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More Americans Say Health Premiums Went Up Over Past Year

by Justin McCarthy

Story Highlights

  • 36% who pay premiums say costs went up "a lot" -- a new high
  • Fewer insured Americans say employers pay full cost

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Nearly three in four American adults (74%) who pay all or some of their health insurance premiums say the amount they pay has gone up over the past year. This percentage is up marginally from the 67% who last year said their costs increased, but it is generally in line with what Gallup has found in yearly updates since 2003.

Self-Reports of Cost Changes Among Adults Who Pay All or Some of Their Health Premiums

These latest data, from Gallup's annual Health and Healthcare poll, come as many insurers have raised premiums -- as well as deductibles, copays and coinsurance -- for plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Meanwhile, growth in national spending on healthcare has accelerated, increasing 5.3% in 2014, according to a report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. According to the American Academy of Actuaries, premium costs, in general, will increase for the next several years because of various market factors, and Americans should plan for such increases.

PremiumCostTD

Yearly increases have been the norm, but Americans are feeling them more sharply than usual. Since 2003, the large majority of adults who pay all or some of their premiums have consistently reported that their costs have gone up. However, until now, many more said the costs went up "a little" than "a lot." In the latest poll, the two figures are nearly tied, with 38% saying costs went up a little and 36% saying a lot. The shift comes from an eight-percentage-point increase this year in those saying their costs rose a lot, bringing it to the highest Gallup has measured since first asking the question in 2003.

Self-Reports of Cost Changes Among Adults Who Pay All or Some of Their Health Premiums

Insured Adults Have Taken on More of the Premium Costs Since '01

Americans with healthcare insurance are also seeing less support from employers in paying premiums. More than a quarter of insured adults (28%) say they pay the full amount of their premiums, on the high of the trend dating back to 2001. Meanwhile, 10% say an employer pays all of the cost of their premiums, which is down by more than half from the high of 24% in 2001, but fairly consistent with recent figures.

Burden of Premium Costs of Americans' Health Insurance

That leaves the majority of insured Americans sharing the costs of their insurance with an employer. But the current figure of 58% is on the low end of the trend since 2001. Much of that decline occurred in the past two years since implementing the ACA.

Bottom Line

Though Americans are still more likely to be satisfied than dissatisfied with their personal healthcare costs, the latest poll indicates they are more likely to be grappling with higher premium costs than in previous years.

Healthcare costs remain a top issue for Americans and one that about a third say led them to put off medical treatment for themselves or a relative. While they have become more amenable to the concept of the government being responsible for providing healthcare, Americans remain overall disapproving of the Affordable Care Act.

What Americans pay for their healthcare premiums has not noticeably improved since the ACA's implementation, and experts have stressed that a rise in premiums will continue for several years. Meanwhile, the White House contends that recent premium increases would have been larger if not for the ACA.

These data are available in Gallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Nov. 4-8, 2015, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of 518 adults with private health insurance, the margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. For results based on the total sample of 457 adults who pay all or part of their health premiums, the margin of sampling error is ±6 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 60% cellphone respondents and 40% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

View complete question responses and trends.

Learn more about how Gallup Poll Social Series works.

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