Golden Growth

By Lisa Zamosky
March 29, 2015

Coping with ever-increasing medical bills is frustrating — and getting more so.

A recent survey by private health insurance exchange EHealth highlights the pressure Americans are feeling. It found that more than 6 in 10 people say they’re more worried about the financial effect of expensive medical emergencies and paying for healthcare than about funding retirement or covering their kids’ education.

People who get health insurance through work and on their own have seen their costs rise dramatically over the last decade.
We’re reaching a backlash, because there is only so much pressure you can put on consumers. – David Newman, executive director of the Health Care Cost Institute, a non-partisan, nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C.

According to the Commonwealth Fund, a New York think tank, annual increases in work-based health plan premiums rose three times faster than wages from 2003 to 2013. Out-of-pocket costs have also been climbing.

“More people have deductibles than ever before,” says Sara Collins, a Commonwealth Fund vice president. From 2003 to 2013, the size of deductibles has grown nearly 150%.

Whether a person is coping with a severe illness or trying to deal with everyday medical costs, the challenges are many.

Ask Brian Tieber, 47, a former facilities manager from San Diego who is now in remission after battling advanced-stage cancer.

When he was diagnosed in 2012, the tight budget that he and his wife managed got much tougher.

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