How Affordability of Health Care Varies by Income among People with Employer Coverage

Discussions about the affordability of health insurance often focus on the non-group market, including the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces, but millions of people with low incomes get their coverage through a workplace, where there are fewer protections against high costs.

This analysis uses information from the 2021 Current Population Survey to look at the share of working families’ income that is spent on premiums, deductibles and other cost-sharing for those covered through an employer. It shows that lower-income families spend a greater share of their income on health costs than those with higher incomes, and that health status of family members is associated with higher out-of-pocket expenses.

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

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