Researchers at The Commonwealth Fund added up the cost of health insurance with the size of deductibles, or how much people would have to spend if they got sick before their insurance kicks in. They then compared that dollar figure with median incomes in every state.
You can think of the resulting figure as providing a rough measure of the financial burden of healthcare spending in every state. The burden is growing because healthcare costs are increasing faster than incomes.
Nationwide, the combined cost of insurance premiums and deductibles was about $7,240, or about 11.7% of income, in 2017. A decade ago, it was 7.8% of the median income.
The researchers, Sara Collins and David Radley, used data on the health insurance plans typically offered by employers, which are the most common type of coverage for people under age 65.
As you can see in the graphic above, the states where healthcare has the potential to eat up the most of a family’s earnings are concentrated in the South and Southwest. In Louisiana, the combined cost of premiums and deductibles is equivalent to 15.5% of median income. In Mississippi, it’s 15%. Those states face a combination of relatively high health costs and lower incomes.
Hawaii faces the lowest total cost, at 7.8% of median income.