In the 1950s, we didn't have medical insurance. I don't think anyone did! My parents bought accident insurance each school year for my brother and me, but that was about it. I had a tonsillectomy when I was about 6, and my mother told me the doctor did the surgery in the morning and then my parents brought me home in the evening. No hospital stay. I have no idea how they paid for that. My dad wasn't making much money in those days!
In the middle 1960s, when I was about to have my first child, we had no medical insurance. My husband and I paid for the doctor and hospital costs ourselves. We were both still in college, and then he started his first full-time job after graduation. In that job, he got basic medical coverage by his employer, but premiums were deducted from his gross pay. Whenever we had medical bills, we had to pay for them and then submit our bills to the insurance company for partial reimbursement. We thought we were lucky if we got 80% of our costs reimbursed. That system continued through the middle 1970s, and our costs included doctor and hospital charges for our second child's birth and for all his health problems. We had one doctor, our family doctor. He took care of all of us, although mostly our son. My son had two surgeries around the age of 4, and our doctor performed both. Insurance reimbursed us for those bills, somewhere between 50% and 80%. I don't remember what the actual dollar amounts were, but they were not anywhere close to what all that would cost now.
Other than my son's allergy and asthma problems, we were generally quite healthy. We didn't buy sodas or junk food; they were too expensive. My husband took his lunch to work every day, and nearly everything I cooked was made "from scratch." The TV was on only in the evenings, and my children were very active ... outside playing with their friends, not indoors sitting in front of TVs or computers for hours on end.
From about 1980 onward, my children and I were covered by my employer's medical insurance. By then I was teaching full time, and the school district paid all the med ins premiums. Until about 1985, I was still submitting bills that we had paid, and we received 60%-80% reimbursement. Again, I have no memory of dollar amounts, but they still were nowhere near what things cost today.
People who worked for private businesses didn't (and most still don't) get fully paid med ins from their employers. The employer pays a set amount for each employee, and then the employee pays for any further coverage -- less if he/she is single, more if he/she wants coverage for a spouse and/or children. Since I worked for a school district that paid all my premiums, I never saw those costs.
Then, about 1990, I think, the doctor's office started billing the insurance company for my medical bills. I was then billed by the doctor's office for anything the insurance didn't cover. My impression has always been that this is about when medical costs started to skyrocket ... and I have always thought it was because doctors and hospitals were now having to hire people whose jobs included knowing how to bill insurance companies and patients. Before that, "insurance billers" generally weren't needed. With the growth of people on Medicare and Medicaid, things continued to get more complicated and more expensive.
I cannot give you dollar amounts, though. All my life I've been quite healthy. I've had only two childbirths and four surgeries, only one of which required a hospital stay. These days, I am covered by a Medicare plan (I chose it from one of the four that my doctor accepts), but I see my doctor only a couple of times a year ... annual check-ups and semi-annual blood tests (plus other tests as my doctor recommends). I do everything I can to keep myself healthy. I don't want health problems!!