Percent of people with a high medical cost burden

Measure Overview

As health care costs continue to rise in the U.S., Americans have seen out-of-pocket (OOP) spending on healthcare account for a growing share of their annual income. High OOP spending required by insurance plans can expose families with low and moderate incomes to unmanageable health care costs and lead to medical debt. Tracking rates of high medical care cost burden in the overall population and across different demographic groups helps us to understand trends and disparities in healthcare affordability.

State Health Compare provides annual, state-level estimates of high medical cost burden, defined as the percentage of individuals in families where OOP spending accounts for more than 10 percent of annual income. The data can be analyzed across different breakdowns, including employer-sponsored insurance coverage, income, and race/ethnicity. Estimates of high medical cost burden are based on public use microdata files from the Current Population Survey’s Annual Social and Economic Supplements (CPS ASEC).

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