How much will health care cost you?

How much will the middle class pay for health care under the House bill being considered in Washington?

The Congressional Budget Office today released its assessment of how much you and your family will pay for health insurance under the various plans being considered in Congress. You can read the entire letter to Rep. Charles Rangel, the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee here, but here are the major examples it gives under the House bill:

♦ A single person with income of $26,500 in 2016 (225 percent of the FPL) would pay a premium of about $1,900 (after getting a premium subsidy of 64 percent) and could expect to pay another $900 in cost sharing (net of federal subsidies); thus, the average payment by such a person for the premium and cost sharing combined is projected to be $2,800, or about 11 percent of income.

♦ A family of four with income of about $54,000 (also 225 percent of the FPL in 2016) could expect to pay about the same share of its income for premiums and cost sharing.

♦ The average premium for a family policy would be $15,000 — $9,500 after subsidies.

♦ A family of four making $102,500 (four times the current federal poverty level) would pay $15,000 a year plus $5,500 in “cost sharing” (such as co-pays and percentages not covered by insurance) for a total of $20,500 per year.

Question: How many of you keep track of what your health care is costing you now? If so, would you care to share? I’ll be happy to go first. It’s about half of these numbers, but my plan is shared by my employer).

Meanwhile, a North Carolina congresswoman had an interesting take on this today. Rep. Virginia Foxx said health care reform is a greater threat to the country than any terrorist in any country.

  • Teej

    My wife and I pay about half of that too, including deductible and copays, for our very good health insurance. I’m a little confused as to how insuring the other 1/4 of our population that is under 65 will double costs.

  • kennedy

    These numbers are pretty typical. Most people forget that employers subsidize part of the cost, a significant part in some cases.

    The quality of coverage is not mentioned, though. High deductibles and/or coverage limitations have a big effect on what the plan is worth. Office visits and perscription costs can add up, as can the patient’s % of bills if expensive procedures are necessary.

  • LJ

    I pay about a 1/3 of the average family policy. My plan is also shared by my employer. I would go broke if I had to pay for gov’t sponsored health care insurance.

  • Momkat

    My three policies: Medicare, supplemental health + drug, dental on husband’s plan, cost us about $225/month. On a related note, since Medicare D, the drug plan, went into effect 1/1/2006, Humana’s version went from $1.87 to $35.00 per month. Fortunately, we can switch every year.

  • Ben

    Our family of 3 currently pays about $3300/yr in premiums for employer-based coverage that requires a $1500 deductible for each of us. Under our plan, this premium wouldn’t change if we added another child. It appears we now pay considerably less than what would be expected of us under the House proposal (if we didn’t have employer-based coverage), even if the deductibles are factored in.

    Do any of the bills in Congress require a deductible?

  • H. Michael

    How do income taxes for individuals and corporations fit into this picture? Under current tax law (I think), the family of four making $102,000 per year would be able to deduct medical expenses, including insurance, above about 7% of adjusted gross income. Is the $20,500 insurance bill in the above example “softened” in any way by a tax deduction? Will families receiving considerably cheaper insurance through work have to treat work-subsidized insurance as income?

  • Greg

    I’ve been covered by South Korea’s nationalized, public option health care plan as an alien resident for about four months now and while it has its problems (most of them due to the fact that I don’t speak Korean), it is not scarier than any terrorist in any country. It isn’t scary at all, actually. The most I’ve paid for prescription drugs is $10, the highest visit co-pay I’ve had was $4, and the premium is rolled into my taxes.

    Here’s the best part, I make about $2,000 a month and have plenty of spending money in a city a little less expensive than the Twin Cities and I *never* have to worry about health care during a pandemic that’s infecting nearly 10,000 South Koreans a day.

    I’m not saying the plans on the table in congress will work exactly like the Korean system, nor do I want them to (they definitely have problems here too), but really, public health care is not something to fear.

  • Bonnie

    This is exactly what we need MORE OF! Everyone needs to start laying it out…and then people will understand who pays what. Bob, please encourage more people to write in and talk about this. It is so important for people to begin to understand who is paying, and for what! The coverages are all over the “map”.

  • Amanda

    I am married and my husband used to have his own insurance but now he is getting a job so I am adding him to mine. My health care plan which was awesome and now not quite after the first of the year (a downgrade I guess you could call it) is cost shared by myself and my employer. I make under 50K a year and my personal cost was under $800 in 2008 and about the same this year. With my husband it will be around $3500. The spread of risk theory is a joke – It’s expensive to insure this country – obviously.

  • Chris

    I am a single 35 year old male earning a little less than $50K/year. I pay $600/year and my employer pays $5300/year for my medical insurance. My additional costs (co-pays, etc) for 2009 are around $100 right now and I don’t expect them to go any higher.

    I recognize that I have a very generous employer in regard to insurance benefits. But….I hate my job and I stay only because of the benefits. Golden handcuffs, eh?

  • tb

    Insurance cost (Two member family, one healthy, one with chronic conditions requiring occasional doctor visits and regular pharmaceuticals.): Total $14,550

    Employer paid premiums $6050/yr

    Our out of pocket approx $8500/yr

    -Our premiums $2500/yr

    -Deductibles we pay $4000/yr (will hit that limit in November)

    -Denied coverage (we pay out of pocket) – approx $1500 – $2500 / yr avg

    -Endless hours trying to figure out bills/ manage cash flow in HSA)

    -Endless hours on phone with insurance company debating coverage

  • JStrander

    I have to say that the numbers aren’t exactly that high. My household is only two, and we make around 200% above poverty level and assuming our total premium cost is near 11% of income it wouldn’t break the bank to have government coverage. It would in fact be better coverage than what my wife can get through her work. They cover her, I’m an additional $208 cost, and we’d pay a 2-3K deductible. The government plan would cost roughly the same and have a lower out of pocket cost.

    Mostly I’m just waiting for the plan to pass though so I can actually get any kind of coverage at all. Asthma (and a few past conditions) don’t exactly make you insurable.

  • AZ

    Under this proposal I would be paying 11% of my income? That means I will have to pay $22,000.00 for insurance that now costs me $8,000.00. I see about 3 of my 14 employees out of work in the future! Please correct me if I’m off base.

  • Natalie

    Here comes the middle class squeeze…yet again! How do they expect us to afford this health care? I am growing tired of having to pay for other people! I work my butt off, pay my bills, pay my taxes and NEVER come out on top! How am I supposed to adjust to a change like this! My husband and I currently pay round $200.00 a month. We have great health insurance. My employer already stated he will not carry my insurance if the public plan comes to fruition. Great! Maybe I will just quite my job, have 5 kids that I can’t afford and go on welfare! At least for once I would know what it is like to get a free ride! Isn’t that what Obama wants anyway?

  • Bob Collins

    //I am growing tired of having to pay for other people!

    This is a different issue from the “who should provide health care — private or public entities?”

    If you have insurance of ANY kind, you are expecting other people to pay for you, and you are agreeing to pay for other people. It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking health insurance, auto insurance, or homeowner’s insurance.

    The fundamental principle of insurance is a “risk pool,” in which everyone puts in enough money and agrees to provide that money to those who suffer losses (make claims) in exchange for the guarantee that when your time comes, they’ll pay for YOUR losses.

    The very heart of the insurance philosophy is that you’re paying for other people,, and they’re paying for you.

  • MAtt

    I don’t respond well to people telling me to be frightened. This congressman is exhibiting her own fear and certainly NO leadership. How about jumping in and offering fixes to the problems instead of just pouting and complaining?

  • Philothea


    We had over $10,000 in medical expenses one year and we couldn’t deduct it because we weren’t itemising separately. Basically you only itemise separately when you are at the beginning of your mortgage and the interest part of your payments are still enough to do so, and we were renting.

    And we made **nowhere near** whatever that would be 7% of…

  • Jake

    Virginia Fox falsely claimed that the bill “prohibits the sale of private individual health insurance policies beginning in 2013.” In fact, the provision at issue states that private individual policies can be sold, but only through the Health Insurance Exchange and subject to its regulations.

    I would still vote NO because the Kucinich Amendment was removed by that coward Pelosi.

  • Barry

    This had better be so not true! If it is true then i will go to jail! I pay 3000 per year now for great insurance.

  • Chris

    Okay I pay 600 a month for insurance. I am very concerned that the real issue is not being addressed. Every HUMAN should get treated when they are sick. The problem is not the insurance companies it’s the doctors and hospitals. No one talks about the fact that when they go to the doctor they are turned down cause they do not have insurance. Is that an insurance companies fault or the health care provider. THEY want to be paid. Why should a pill cost $100.00? So is this about insurance or health care? They are not the same thing. Let’s cap these charges. Make the losses a doctors takes (cause he is mandated to provide care) a tax write off that is 70% reimburseable. I know not a lot of thought into that but my point is, make health care mandated. YOU CAN NOT BE TURNED DOWN FOR TREATMENT regardless of your ability to pay. Now doctors are treated patients because they CARE about people. Insurance companies pay a premium tax that helps subsidize the cost. Tax dollars pay the other parts.