ACA’s Maximum Out-of-Pocket Limit Is Growing Faster Than Wages

An important component of most private insurance plans is the out-of-pocket (OOP) limit. These limits place an annual cap on the amount of cost-sharing (deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance) an enrollee can face for in-network covered services each year. By doing so, OOP limits provide significant financial protection for individuals who face substantial health care use in a year. Even so, these limits are typically several thousand dollars for covered workers enrolled in single coverage; families in which multiple people have health spending may face significant cost-sharing before reaching the limit.

This analysis uses economic projections to look at how the maximum allowable OOP limits may change for different types of private health insurance plans over the next decade. It finds that the ACA’s maximum out-of-pocket limit is likely to grow faster than wages and salaries, and is also expected to grow faster than the maximum out-of-pocket limit for HSA-qualified health plans.

The analysis is available on the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker, an online information hub dedicated to monitoring and assessing the performance of the U.S. health system.

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