Health care costs rising in Utah

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The majority of Utahns, over 60 percent, purchase their health care plans through their employers.

Not only is this much higher than the national average of 49 percent, but it’s also the highest rate of employer-sponsored health care plans in the country. Over the last 10 years, we’ve also seen more and more Utahns purchase high-deductible plans: in 2008, three percent of insured Utahns had a high-deductible plan, compared with 30 percent in 2018.

The changes in enrollment choices and plans offered by employers can both be traced back to the overall rising costs of health care in the U.S., including the cost of name-brand drugs nearly tripling since 2008. High deductible plans have seen deductibles nearly double in the last ten years, a data point which holds true for individual and family plans. These rising deductibles are expensive not just for big businesses, but especially for small businesses and their employees.

These changes in consumer behaviors, employers and employees opting for higher deductible plans, while not necessarily reflected in monthly premiums, means Utahns will end up spending more of their hard-earned money on health care costs. There are steps individuals with high deductible plans can take to help keep their own costs down, such as asking about pricing before a medical procedure, shopping around for better prices, and negotiating costs with a provider. That is why the Salt Lake Chamber supports better price transparency to ensure informed consumer decisions.

But Utah also needs its business community to be more engaged in the discussion around rising health care costs. As the state with the highest rate of employer-sponsored health care, our businesses are well-positioned to have the motivation and ability to help contain unsustainable costs and improve the health of Utahns. Doing so will keep health care costs from rising for businesses and Utahns alike.

To learn more about the Salt Lake Chamber’s health care legislative priorities, visit our website.