EUGENE - Oregonians are paying an increasingly larger share of their household budgets for health care, according to a new report.

More than one in four Oregonians under age 65 are in families that will spend at least 10 percent of their income on health costs next year, according to the report released Tuesday by Families USA, a nonprofit consumer health group.

The number of Oregonians in families that spend more than 10 percent has increased from 538,000 in 2000, or 18 percent of the population, to 852,000 in 2008, or 26 percent of the population, higher than the national average of 23.2 percent.

About 8 percent of the population belongs to families that will spend more than 25 percent of their income on health costs in 2008, according to the report.

It also notes that 85 percent of those families have health insurance, which is becoming more costly.

The report said the main reason families are spending more on health care is because of rising health insurance premiums. Between 2000 and 2007, the average annual premium for job-based family health coverage paid for by employer and employee combined rose from $6,351 to $12,106, an increase of more than 90 percent.

The report said the cost of health insurance is going up partly because of rising spending on prescription drugs and hospital stays.

Polls have shown that health care is the top domestic concern for Americans and Families USA wants its report to be a call to action heading into the 2008 congressional and presidential elections, said Kim Bailey, a senior health policy analyst and co-author of the Oregon report.

About 576,000 Oregonians, or 16 percent, are uninsured, according to the state Office for Oregon Health Policy and Research.

There's no consensus on what percentage of income families should spend on health care - but 10 percent is more than most low and middle-income families can afford, Bailey said.

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