In 2016, more than 8 million people in the U.S. received a bill for their medical care from their health insurance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
In 2017, the number jumped to 10.6 million, according a report by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Health Plan.
In 2018, the numbers were more than double the amount of bills in 2019.
And, as of early September, the Kaiser report found that almost a quarter of the people with private insurance have paid for at least one prescription in the past year, and another third have paid more than $100 for a drug.
That’s according to data from the National Association of Realtors, which tracks the marketplace, which found that a third of its members have a health insurance plan that does not cover the medication needed to treat their conditions.
“If you’re going to be getting treated for a medical condition, it’s going to cost you,” said Rebecca Linn, vice president of health and human services at the REALTOR® organization, which represents more than 400,000 homebuyers.
“And if you’re not going to get the treatment, that will cost you.
So, if you have insurance, and you want to go out to the grocery store, or you’re shopping for a home, it costs you money.”
Health care providers, including many insurers, are not the only ones to be hit hard.
Some of the biggest cost drivers are: Inpatient care: Patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis spend an average of $13,500 per year on inpatient hospitalization, the survey found.
For those with asthma, COPD and other respiratory conditions, it can reach $28,000, according the Kaiser survey.
That puts people with chronic illnesses at higher risk of developing hospitalizations.
Chronic illness: Patients who have a chronic illness are more likely to suffer from a greater number of hospitalizations and emergency room visits than the general population, according health care researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
“It’s not just about being ill, it is also about not being able to pay,” said Dr. Joseph Buell, a professor of medicine and director of the Department of Health Policy and Management at Harvard Chan.
“People who are sick and in need of care are not going out to grocery stores.
People are going to the hospital because they need help, and the cost of care is going up.”
Some patients are stuck with higher bills because their doctors have higher deductibles and co-pays, said Dr: Joseph G. A. Hahn, director of preventive medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital.
In the United States, the average deductible for a physician is $1,800, but patients can get discounts for low incomes or even deductibles of up to $2,000 for the first year, according an analysis by the Kaiser Health Tracking Program.
But the deductibles can quickly increase, especially for patients with chronic diseases.
“When I went to my doctor and my doctor told me that they were charging me $20,000 more for the next three years, I was just stunned,” said Tanya Zagorski, who is in her 30s.
“I thought, ‘Oh, my God, I’m going to go bankrupt.'”
Hahn said that some doctors may also be charging higher co-payments for certain medications, including some pain medicines, to help pay for their bills.
And some insurance companies are charging higher premiums for those with chronic health conditions, he said.
For example, Medica is asking people with an annual deductible of $1.5 million to pay an additional $250 a month for two years to cover the cost, while the average co-payment for an individual in the same category is $400, according and the insurer.
And in 2018, Medico began charging a fee of $5 a month on its new coverage for people with diabetes, raising the average cost for people in that group to $6,600 a year.
Insurers are not exempt from the higher premiums that can result from chronic illness.
But insurance companies, including the two largest in the country, are exempt from most of the higher fees that can lead to higher medical bills, said Robert G. Phelan, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Foundation.
Insurers may be able to make lower-cost policies for those who don’t qualify for Medicare Part D or Medicaid, which covers the uninsured, and which insurers are already covering.
But it’s not necessarily because insurers are not offering better coverage.
“There are a lot of folks who don.
If they can afford it, they’re not getting the full benefit,” said Phelann.
“So, that’s where the big health insurers come in.”
“We need to be very careful about what we’re saying about health insurance,” said Hahn.
“Insurers can do that. They