Ark. Study: 1 in 10 Will Spend More Than 1/3 of Earnings on Health Care

One out of every 10 Arkansans belong to a family that will spend more than 25 percent of their pretax earnings on out-of-pocket medical expenses next year, a new study shows.

The study by Families USA, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group based in Washington, D.C., shows nearly 28 percent of Arkansans will see their families spend more than 10 percent of their earnings on health care not covered by insurance. Of those, the study shows more than 75 percent have health insurance.

Families USA executive director Ron Pollack said the numbers showed expanding health care insurance had moved from the “impulse of altruism” to a “concern of self-interest.”

“What I think people are feeling is the health care they used to take for granted is increasingly unaffordable,” Pollack said.

The Families USA study pins the blame on rising health care costs, higher deductibles for insurance plans and “the near- monopoly power of insurance companies coupled with little or no regulation. “The study warns more Arkansans will turn to high interest rate credit cards to cover the costs and fall further in debt.

The study, coming as part of a state-by-state series, based its estimates on a statistical model by The Lewin Group of Virginia and federal census, Medicaid and Medicare data.