Studies reveal shrinking access to and increased costs of health care coverage for many in the U.S. And analysts worry about 2022 insurance premiums.

Roll Call:
Health Care Rates For 2021 Stable, But 2022 May Bring Challenges

A drop in health care costs is projected to keep insurance rates low in 2021, but long-term worries about the COVID-19 pandemic are raising concerns about potential spikes in future years. Final rate increases in the individual market are under 5 percent in places like Idaho, the District of Columbia and Minnesota. Several states, including Hawaii and Oregon, are even expecting price drops. (Clason, 10/8)

Fewer children are insured —

The New York Times:
Even As The Economy Grew, More Children Lost Health Insurance

The share of children with health coverage in the United States fell for the third consecutive year in 2019, according to census data, after decades of increases. The decline occurred during a period of economic growth — before the coronavirus pandemic caused broad job losses that might have cost many more Americans their health insurance. (Sanger-Katz and Goodnough, 10/9)

Houston Chronicle:
Texas Leads Nation In Uninsured Kids

One in seven children in Harris County were uninsured in 2019, one of the highest rates in the country and almost triple the national average, according to a report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. (Wu, 10/9)

Colorado Public Radio:
The Rate Of Uninsured Children Is Creeping Up Across Colorado And The US, And Hispanic Kids Are Even Less Likely To Be Insured

In 2019, there were about 58,000 kids in Colorado who were uninsured. That’s nearly the population of Grand Junction. Rewind to 2015 and a historic low of 2.5 percent, or an estimated 33,000 children in Colorado, were uninsured, according to data compiled by the Colorado Health Institute. In 2016, the nation also hit a record low of uninsured kids at 4.7 percent. But the rate has been steadily increasing. (Cleveland, 10/9)

And the results of an annual survey on employer health insurance are in —

The Star Tribune:
Family Health Insurance Costs Surpass $21,000

The average premium for family coverage in employer health plans rose about 4% this year to more than $21,000 — and employers are picking up more of the tab. Workers on average aren’t being asked to pay more in premiums for family coverage and those with individual coverage through their work aren’t seeing increases in deductibles, according to survey results Thursday from the California-based Kaiser Family Foundation. (Snowbeck, 10/8)

Employer Health Coverage Costs Still Outpaced Wages Heading Into 2020

These costs only accounted for coverage offered heading into 2020, and therefore didn’t factor in the coronavirus pandemic. And although the 4% growth rate was the lowest since 2017, it still exceeded the average growth of workers’ wages (3.4%) and general inflation (2.1%) — meaning employer health care continues to eat away at people’s budgets. (Herman, 10/8)

Modern Healthcare:
Job-Based Health Coverage Will Be More Expensive In 2021

Large employers expect the cost of providing health coverage to workers to increase next year, as employees seek care they put off during the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies anticipate that health benefit costs will grow 5.3% in 2021, an increase slightly higher than the 5% increases employers projected in each of the last five years, according to the latest annual survey big employers by the Business Group on Health. (Livingston, 8/18)

More insurance news —

COVID-19 ‘Long-Haulers’ Worry About Coverage, Costs 

Andréa Ceresa has been through three gastroenterologists already and now is moving onto her fourth. She’s seen an infectious disease specialist, a hematologist, a cardiologist, an ear, nose and throat specialist, a physiatrist and an integrative doctor. She has an appointment coming up with a neuropsychologist and another one with a neurologist. She’s had an endoscopy, a colonoscopy, a CT scan, a brain MRI and so many blood tests, she said, “I feel like a human pin-cushion.” She was planning a trip soon to an acupuncturist and has a referral for occupational therapy. (Ollove, 10.9)

How To Find Health Care After A Layoff In A Pandemic

The Affordable Care Act has emerged as a sticking point in the presidential campaign. Democratic vice presidential hopeful Kamala Harris has said that the Trump administration, aided by a new Supreme Court bench, could invalidate Obamacare and its requirement that insurance companies cover preexisting conditions. Vice President Mike Pence said the administration would not let that happen but has declined to say how. With nearly 12 million people on unemployment and so much health care coverage tied to jobs lost to the pandemic, what are the available options for coverage? Colleen Carey, assistant professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell University, joined “Marketplace Morning Report” host David Brancaccio to discuss. (10/9)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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