What the Public Is Paying for Healthcare

Dec. 9.09 | About: iShares U.S. (IYH)

Many Americans receive healthcare insurance through their employer. While most do see a payroll deduction for premiums, far more of the cost is hidden: Employers pay an average of 70% of healthcare insurance premiums as a "benefit".

As Ezra Klein writes in The Washington Post (here), this "benefit" is in fact a reduction in pay. Klein proposes that should be shown on the pay stub. The cost to the individual should be made clear. If someone who thinks they make $52,000 a year could see that they actually make $61,450 when the 70% of the average healthcare insurance cost ($13,500 per year) is put on the pay stub.

Someone who may now think they are making $52,000 a year and paying about $4,000 a year for healthcare coverage would now see that they are making about $61,000 a year and paying about $13,000 for coverage.

Won't that increase the attention the public pays to the cost of healthcare?

My position is that access to healthcare is an individual right. Okay righties, take a swing at me. It is also my position that paying for one's healthcare is an individual responsibility. Okay lefties, your turn: Take a swing at me.

I think after taking both punches my position is still standing. But, until John Q. Public understands his personal cost for healthcare, establishing both the right and the responsibility will be difficult.

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