Over 40% of Americans Expect to Pay More for Healthcare in 2016

Many of the most common health-related costs that Americans face increased over the course of 2015 or are set to increase in 2016. Premiums of health insurance plans offered through Affordable Care Act exchanges have increased 10.1 percent on average from 2016, according to a 2015 cost analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

For employer-provided plans, premiums rose 9 percent in 2015. On top of higher premiums, health insurance deductibles have risen six times faster than wages since 2010, reported The New York Times. The costs of prescription drug prices are also up this year after rising 10.4 percent in 2015, as calculated by the OneRx National Drug Index.

Americans need to be accounting for these increases in healthcare costs as they set their budgets for the year. GOBankingRates conducted a Google Consumer Survey to see whether Americans are anticipating and planning for higher health costs in 2016.

43 Percent of Americans Plan on Higher Health Costs This Year

GOBankingRates asked survey respondents, “How much do you expect to pay for healthcare in the next year?” specifying insurance, prescriptions, doctor visits and similar costs. Four options were provided in the following order:

  • Less than the last year
  • Same as the last year
  • A little more than the last year
  • A lot more than the last year

If you expect to pay more for healthcare in 2016, you’re in the majority. According to poll responses, 43 percent of Americans expect to pay more for health insurance this year: 23 percent of total respondents expect to pay “a little more than the last year,” and 20 percent expect to pay “a lot more.”

Read: Here’s How Much Americans Expect to Pay for Healthcare in Every State in 2016

Despite rising health insurance premiums, deductibles and the cost of prescription drugs, however, many Americans don’t anticipate a matching increase in their 2016 health costs. The single most-chosen response overall is “same as the last year,” which was selected by 37 percent of total respondents. This is roughly twice the number of respondents who said they expect to pay less for health costs in 2016, which is just one in five people (20 percent).

Related: 19 Medical Expenses You Can Deduct From Your Taxes

Age Insights: Older Americans Expect to Pay More for Healthcare

Respondents’ expected healthcare costs correlated pretty closely to their age and life stage. Younger respondents are more likely to expect to pay the same or less for health costs in 2016, whereas older respondents are more likely to expect to pay more in 2016.

For instance, only about a third (34.7 percent) of young millennials ages 18 to 24 expect to pay more for healthcare in 2016 — including both those who plan to pay “a little more” and “a lot more” — compared with nearly half (48.7 percent) of seniors age 65 and up.

Answers of “a lot more” are fairly constant across age groups, with roughly one in five respondents of each age group selecting this answer over others. It seems that when it comes to significant increases in healthcare, age groups think similarly about how likely they are to be affected.

Millennials (ages 18 to 34) are nearly twice as likely as seniors to say that they expect to pay less in 2016, choosing this response around 23.9 percent of the time. Far fewer seniors (age 65 and up) expect that their healthcare costs will actually decrease in 2016, with just 14.0 percent selecting this response. Overall medical costs — and even Medicare premiums for some seniors — are increasing in 2016, but this trend won’t be matched with a cost-of-living increase in Social Security benefits that could help cover those extra costs, according to reports from multiple news outlets.

Women Expect Health Costs to Stay the Same, Men Plan on Changes

Between men and women, men are slightly more likely to expect their costs to increase in 2016: 45.0 percent of men say they expect to spend a little or a lot more on health costs compared to 41.8 percent of women.

Men are also more likely to project lower costs, however, with 21.6 percent of men selecting this answer versus 18.5 percent of women. Overall, women seem to expect health costs to remain more constant in 2016, with 39.8 percent saying they expect to pay the “same as the last year” compared with just a third of men (33.4 percent) who selected the same answer.

Before the ACA went into effect in 2014, women often faced higher healthcare costs than men, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Health insurers previously could charge women higher premiums than men for the same amount of coverage, a pricing practice that is now illegal under the ACA.

Women also now have more coverage for care they previously would have paid more for out of pocket, such as mammograms or birth control, and insurers have to provide coverage despite pre-existing conditions like pregnancy. With the effects of the ACA still unfolding, it could be that women are finally seeing their health costs plateau and men’s health costs are simply catching up.

Keep Reading: How to Negotiate Hospital Bills

Expectations for 2016 Healthcare Costs by State

Healthcare costs can vary greatly by state based on local variations in market price, implementation of state health laws, as well as state participation in Medicaid expansion and other factors. A 2016 study from GOBankingRates compared typical health insurance costs of plans purchased through ACA exchanges and found that monthly premiums differed by as much as $185 from state to state. Residents in the state with the lowest insurance costs, New Mexico, pay half as much as those living in New York, the state with the most expensive insurance.

Expectations for health costs in 2016 also differed from state to state. For a majority of states (39 of 50), residents are most likely to expect costs to stay the same in 2016 as what they paid in the last year. Residents of 12 states expect their costs to increase in 2016 (including both “a lot more” and “a little more” responses). Only three states expect health costs to decrease in 2016: Hawaii, Iowa and Oklahoma.

Here’s how states’ expectations of 2016 health costs match up with their ranking for health insurance costs.

StateRank for Health Insurance Costs
(Best to Worst)
Residents’ Health Cost Expectations
New Mexico1Stay the same
Utah2Stay the same
California3Stay the same
Texas4Stay the same
Pennsylvania5Stay the same
Michigan6Stay the same
District of Columbia7Stay the same
Hawaii8Decrease in 2016
Oregon9Stay the same
Idaho10Stay the same
Wisconsin11Increase in 2016
Connecticut12Stay the same
Arizona13Stay the same
Louisiana14Increase in 2016
Illinois15Stay the same
Kansas16Stay the same
Massachusetts17Stay the same
Minnesota18Stay the same
Virginia19Stay the same
Iowa20Decrease in 2016
Nevada21Stay the same
New Hampshire22Increase in 2016
Maine23Stay the same
Kentucky24Stay the same
North Dakota25Increase in 2016
West Virginia26Stay the same
Washington27Stay the same
Ohio28Stay the same
Montana29Stay the same
Maryland30Increase in 2016
Arkansas31Tie: Stay the same and Increase in 2016
South Dakota32Increase in 2016
Rhode Island33Tie: Stay the same and Increase in 2016
Vermont34Stay the same
Nebraska35Stay the same
North Carolina36Stay the same
Georgia37Stay the same
Florida38Stay the same
Alaska39Increase in 2016
Tennessee40Stay the same
Missouri41Stay the same
Colorado42Stay the same
Wyoming43Stay the same
Delaware44Increase in 2016
Indiana45Stay the same
Oklahoma46Tie: Increase in 2016 and Decrease in 2016
Mississippi47Increase in 2016
New Jersey48Stay the same
Alabama49Stay the same
South Carolina50Stay the same
New York51Stay the same

Methodology: This poll was conducted as a Google Consumer Survey, which collected 5,118 responses from Dec. 23-29, 2015. This survey posed a single question: “How much do you expect to pay for healthcare in the next year? (insurance, prescriptions, doctor visit, etc.).” Respondents could choose from four options listed in the following order: (1) “less than the last year,” (2) “same as the last year,” (3) “a little more than the last year” or (4) “a lot more than the last year.” The survey has a margin of error of 2.7 percent. Analyses by age, state and gender are based only on responses for which the respondents’ relevant demographic information was available.

Read: 7 Ways to Improve Your Health and Finances