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Patient Cost Sharing: How Much is Too Much?

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Publication Date: December 2003

Publisher(s): Center for Studying Health System Change

Author(s): Sally Trude

Series: Issue Brief No. 72

Topic: Health (Health care financing)

Type: Brief


Responding to successive years of double-digit health insurance premium increases, employers continue to restructure health benefits to slow the rise in company costs by increasing patients' financial stake in their care. A new Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) study examines how increased patient cost sharing through higher deductibles, copayments and coinsurance raises patients' out-of-pocket costs. Increased patient cost sharing creates more financial burdens for seriously ill and low-income workers. Concerns about financial hardships for seriously ill and low-income workers may limit employers' ability to slow rising premiums through increased patient cost sharing.