The Hamilton Project offers six economic facts that highlight continuing challenges and complexities in health care and health insurance markets on which the policy debate should focus.
Health-care spending varies widely across the country and has grown steadily over the past five decades. Americans now spend nearly one in five dollars on health care. However, the pace of growth in health-care spending has been falling, on balance, since the 1980s due to changes in insurance plans, provider payment methods, and public sector programs.
Even with insurance, many households still remain vulnerable to depleting their savings in the event that they experience a major illness or injury. Exacerbating this vulnerability, much evidence shows that Americans often choose plans for themselves that lead them to pay more for prescription drug coverage or health insurance than they otherwise need to.
Through employers, private insurers offer Americans numerous health insurance options that vary in coverage and cost. Choosing the right plan entails navigating many complex dimensions of insurance plans and weighing them against the risk of needing care.
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