Health Care Affordability Study
HEALTH CARE TASK FORCE
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11:50 AM -- Health Care Affordability Study
Becky Miller Updike, Colorado Council of Churches and Colorado Voices for Coverage, described the study "The Cost of Care: Can Coloradans Afford Health Care?". A copy of the report regarding the study, an Executive Summary of the report, and a copy of her presentation were distributed to the committee (Attachments D, E, and F respectively). She gave a brief overview of the results of the study.
Elisabeth Arenales, Colorado Center on Law and Policy, described the study. She described the expenses for individual households, including necessary expenses (food, housing, utilities, child care, alimony and child support, transportation, and taxes) and other financial responsibilities (debt payments, tuition and education expenses, charitable donations, savings, and support to family members). She discussed the key findings regarding individual households, including that: families within a given income category differ in what they can afford and 25 percent of families at all income levels except for the highest have negative balances. The survey further found that, at the median, after necessary expenses and other financial responsibilities were paid, families with incomes under 200 percent FPL can contributed little or nothing to the cost or health care. 50 percent of families with incomes between 200 and 400 percent of the FPL can contribute something towards the cost. Families with incomes between 400 and 500 percent of the FPL could make a more substantial contribution toward the cost. She emphasized that having money after expenses does not mean a family can afford health care. She described data showing, from a group perspective, how many households can afford insurance, noting that only at the highest incomes could a majority afford individual insurance. In addition, employer subsidies provided in the group market significantly increases the ability of households to afford insurance, but the subsidies are still not large enough for many.
Ms. Arenales described the opportunity costs associated with health care. She stated that the study's key finding was that as health care claims a larger percentage of a family's budget, spending in other categories goes down. She described data showing that monthly contributions to savings decrease as the percent of income spent on health care increases. The task force recessed for lunch.