Healthcare’s Hidden Costs

Hang on to your health-insurance cards, because this one might surprise you: Despite those eye-popping prices at the gas pump and the grocery store, Americans are now spending more on health care than on transportation or food.

Nope. We’re serious.

And it’s even true for people with employer-sponsored health insurance, health economist Paul Keckley tells UPI.com.

Keckley, executive director of Deloitte Center for Health Solutions in Washington, warns that many insured workers don’t see these costs sneaking up on them, so they aren’t doing enough to track expenditures for co-payments, deductibles and over-the counter products.

But in fact, the average U.S. household spends 19.8 percent of its discretionary income on health care, Keckley says.

“The cost of the health system is embedded in every item we buy,” he says in the UPI.com post. “But it is virtually invisible to most consumers because it’s hidden in indirect pass-throughs, piece-meal co-payments, and transfer taxes from those who don’t pay to those who do.”

It’s all the more reason to track bills, budget carefully and keep meticulous records, experts advise.

Considering the coupon-clipping and pump-pricing most of us do, it seems logical that we’d want to be just as careful when it comes to costs that are even more significant than filling the fridge or topping off the tank.

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