464px-Inverted_question_mark_alternate_inverted.svgNo matter what your position is on the Affordable Care Act and what it may or may not do, it’s safe to say that when it comes to paying for health care, three dreaded words for consumers are: out of pocket.

Based on an interesting benefitspro.com.piece by Kathryn Mayer, citing research based on data from the Health Care Cost Institute, individuals are reaching deeper and deeper into their own pockets when it comes to paying the doctor’s bill.  The study, she writes, “published in the October issue of Health Affairs, looked at spending on medical services and prescriptions between 2007 and 2011. During this time, spending per person rose at an average annual rate of 4.9 percent, faster than the economy. Per person spending on medical care jumped an average of 5.3 percent annually, while per person spending on prescriptions grew an average of 3.3 percent each year.

“Out-of-pocket spending for medical care increased an average of 8 percent each year, compared to a 4.9 percent increase in spending by employers and insurers, research found. The amount consumers paid out of pocket for prescription drugs and devices remained about the same from 2007-2011, as carriers covered a larger portion of prescription costs.”