PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Health Authority released a report on Monday showing some of the impacts of rising health care costs on Oregon families and individuals in 2019, as average costs total more than 23% of family spending.

According to a press release by OHA, Oregon’s personal spending on healthcare rose by 34% from 2013 to 2019, outpacing national averages.

Between out-of-pocket costs and rising premiums, healthcare costs are jeopardizing the financial stability of people in Oregon, said the report, as 10% of people in Oregon reported using up all or most of their savings because of medical bills.

“This report fleshes out with data a troubling picture of the impacts of rising health care costs on Oregon families,” Jeremy Vandehey, the director of the Health Policy and Analytics division of the Oregon Health Authority, said. “While we’ve known for a long while that the rate of cost growth was unsustainable, COVID showed us in stark relief how important access to affordable care was to Oregon families. High costs not only cause poor health outcomes, but they also do real financial harm to people in Oregon.”

He added that the data in this report reinforces “the need in our state for our cost growth target, which aims to limit annual increases in health care costs statewide to 3.4% over the next several years.”

And even as the pandemic destabilized so many things, we still know Oregon families cannot sustain further health care cost burdens,” Vandehey stated.

OHA said some of the impacts of unsustainable healthcare costs mentioned in the report include people delaying care, being unable to pay medical bills in the past year and having trouble paying medical bills over time, among other factors.

The announcement noted that a committee recently held a hearing focused on “real stories” of people’s struggles with high medical costs. One public comment from a small business owner said the owner had a high deductible health plan which covers nothing until the $8,000 deductible is met.

OHA said another person compared his or her medical cost with the equivalent of paying another mortgage, “without having income other than my fixed retirement that needs to last for years.”

According to the report, commercial health insurance premiums in Oregon have increased by 22% between 2013 and 2019, for both single and family plans. In 2019, the average family premium was $19,405 and the average single premium was $6,651.

“On average, people in Oregon pay between a quarter and a third of their premium costs for family plans, and less than a quarter for single plans; employers pay the rest. However, the employer share of health insurance premiums is often considered part of total compensation and employees often experience these increasing health insurance costs through lower wages,” OHA said.

Along with paying health insurance premiums, some people must also pay a deductible as part of their health insurance plan. The agency explains a deductible as the amount that an individual pays for their care before their health insurance starts to pay.

Unlike health insurance premiums, OHA says the deductible is only paid when people seek health care services. Nine of 10 people in Oregon with commercial health insurance have a deductible, according to the report.

Between 2013 and 2019, deductibles for commercial insurance family plans grew by 40 percent to an average of $3,634, and deductibles for single plans grew 51% to an average of $1,958, according to the findings.

OHA said these cost increases are crowding out other expenses in families’ budgets. With healthcare and health insurance spending representing 23% of all household spending in the report, the next largest household spending category was listed as housing, then utilities, followed by fuels at 19.8%.

“As a state, we’ve made a choice to begin to tackle these rising costs, which are putting pressure on families and are increasingly forcing difficult choices between health care and other necessities like housing and food,” Vandehey said. “Given the trends and the dire impacts, we must contain health care cost growth in ways that do not impact people’s health, the quality of health services, or exacerbate health inequities. Working collectively, we can achieve sustainable health care costs – so that families can get the care they need and budget for things other than health care.”

For more details on the report, click here.