RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WVNS)– As inflation continues to affect prices around us daily, 59News wanted to investigate how this rise affects healthcare costs and a family’s ability to receive it.

“We traveled to Morgantown and UVA and saw specialists, neurologists, and a developmental pediatrician,” said Kristin O’Neal.

O`Neal’s daughter, Chloe, has cognitive and developmental disabilities. When Chloe was young and receiving early treatment and diagnoses, her family was often traveling for many days at a time to make sure Chole got the care she needed.

“We did travel one summer to get some extensive OT, PT and Speech Therapy in Michigan,” O’Neal added. “We thought we`re going to relocate up there for 6 weeks so we did have to find housing.”

O`Neal said for families like hers, where travel was required for care, rising prices are felt especially hard. Gas prices are up 18.7 percent nationally since September 2021, and grocery prices are averaging 12 percent higher according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Additionally, In a study published by the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2021, the average premium for single-coverage healthcare is $7,739 and $22,221 for family coverage. The study went on to say that the average premium for single coverage increased by 4 percent in the last year and that family coverage premiums have increased 47 percent since 2011.

But this growth may not exactly translate to more money out of people’s pockets.

“Well, it started with the American Rescue Plan where the federal government, a big part of that plan, they put billions of dollars into the subsidies for the individual exchanges,” said insurance agent Steven Songer.

Those subsidies directly affect the out-of-pocket cost for individuals and small businesses seeking health insurance coverage. According to Songer, while subsidies can be volatile, that out-of-pocket cost is not expected to change any time soon.

“It changes year by year depending on who is in office and the bills that are passed,” Songer added. “But lately because of the American Rescue Plan and then they just extended it until 2025 with the Inflation Reduction Act they’ve extended the subsidies to help people pay for the premiums.”

O`Neal said her family made it work when they were traveling regularly. She added that while you do what you have to in order to get by — if prices continue to rise at the rate they are, many families like hers could face some difficult decisions.

“I can’t imagine having to go through now what we went through then and the cost of things,” O’Neal sighed. “You may even have to choose between which therapies you’re going to do, those are costly.”