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Why healthcare costs are rising in Virginia

The Altarum Institute, a non-profit healthcare research group, looked at medical spending in Virginia and concluded insurance premiums and deductibles rose more than 30% for individuals and nearly 28% for family coverage between 2015 and 2021. That did not surprise Julian Walker who speaks for the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association.

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Julian Walker is Vice President of Communications at the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association

“Health insurance costs continued to go up. Out of pocket costs go up -- high deductible plans and just the rate of premiums," he explains. "These rates went up double digit percentages year after year after year after year.”

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Virginians paid more despite the fact that we used medical services at a lower rate than the national average. So what’s pushing our bills up? Walker blames prescription drugs and insurance.

“Hospital costs per capita were lower than the national average, so we’re not seeing healthcare costs – whether it’s on the hospital side or other provider types – being a driver for significant increased spending. What we’re seeing as a driver for increased costs in spending in healthcare is health insurance costs as well as pharmaceutical costs to some extent.”

The numbers were even more surprising, he says, because in 2020 and 2021 people were putting off medical care as hospitals and doctors’ offices dealt with the COVID pandemic.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief