Sticker Shock (Climate of Health)

The headline in the New York Times reads, “Many Say High Deductibles Make Their Health Law Insurance All But Useless.” The focus of the story highlights a growing concern that while health insurance premiums are now affordable for many Americans, the deductibles in some plans are skyrocketing.

From the Times article:

But for many consumers, the sticker shock is coming not on the front end, when they purchase the plans, but on the back end when they get sick: sky-high deductibles that are leaving some newly insured feeling nearly as vulnerable as they were before they had coverage.

“The deductible, $3,000 a year, makes it impossible to actually go to the doctor,” said David R. Reines, 60, of Jefferson Township, N.J., a former hardware salesman with chronic knee pain. “We have insurance, but can’t afford to use it.”

A recent Kaiser Family Foundation study found that deductibles have grown almost seven times faster than wages since 2010. And, according to a report from Families USA earlier this year, more than one-in-four Americans who are insured through the federal marketplace and had deductibles higher than $1,500 went without needed medical care in 2014 because they could not afford it. That includes diagnostic tests, treatments, and follow-up care as well as prescription drugs.

From the Boston Globe:

“Polls about the Affordable Care Act have a considerable amount of middle-income people who say either the program has done nothing for them or actually hurt them,” said Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health.

The article goes on to say that the President’s administration, “in response to the criticism, acknowledges that high deductibles are an “important issue” but says the problem is part of longstanding insurance trends.”

Are high deductibles in the federal marketplace making health choices more difficult for Arizonans? If so, what can we do to make sure people get the services they need? Share your thoughts with us.


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