Reuters reports the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that more than 54% of workers covered by employer-sponsored health plans paid a hospital co-pay in 2003, up from 33% in 1999. The agency reported 92.4% of plans in 1999 and 95% of plans in 2003 required co-pays for physician visits, according to Reuters.
The agency’s Medical Expenditure Panel Survey found the number of employees required to pay between $150 and $400 out-of-pocket for hospital care doubled from slightly more than 10% in 1999 to 21% in 2003. Additionally, the survey found that the number of employees required to pay a co-pay of more than $10 for physician visits jumped from 35.4% in 1999 to 71.8% in 2003.
Both small and large employers posted an increase in employee co-pays of more than $20 for physician visits, but the increase was much greater for small firms – from 3% in 1999 to 19.2% in 2003. For large firms, the number increased from 1.3% to 8.9%, according to the survey results.
The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey is here .