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For Many Americans the Deductible is Too Darn High

Cropped SingleCare logo By | December 22, 2015

The ACA insurance policies’ expensive deductibles have been one of the primary detractors for millions of Americans. What do you do when you buy health insurance that you can’t afford to use?

A deductible is the out-of-pocket expense that insurance providers require patients to pay before they begin to cover expenses. High deductibles are often a strong deterrent to purchasing a health insurance plan in the first place, and one of the obstacles the Obama administration has attempted to rectify with the Affordable Care Act.

Purchasing Insurance You Can’t Afford to Use

Unfortunately, the expansion of the ACA has not been without its missteps. As the Wall Street Journal writes in its review of Zeke Emmanuel’s Health of Nations, “The rapid spread of high-deductible insurance among employers [was] one of the immediate and unanticipated consequences of the ACA.” Indeed, manyACA plans have proven much too expensive for many of its recipients to partake in.

In profiling multiple people who bought health insurance after the ACA was implemented, the New York Times found that the Affordable Care Act may not be as affordable as its name would indicate. While upfront payments may be reasonable, Obamacare does little to cover costs when medical attention is actually needed.

The Times reported that over half of the plans offered through HealthCare.gov (also called “the marketplace”) have deductibles of $3,000 or more. North Texas resident Kevin Fanning purchased one of these plans but said, “We could not afford the deductible. Basically I was paying for insurance I could not afford to use.” Eventually, he dropped the plan and opted to pay the penalty.

David R. Reins, a 60-year-old resident of Jefferson Township, New Jersey with chronic knee pain, told a similar story, “the deductible, $3,000 a year, makes it impossible to actually go to the doctor. We have insurance, but can’t afford to use it.”

Who Really Benefits — and Who’s to Blame?

As it turns out, the cause for such high costs can’t be traced to one source. The Incidental Economist notes that for the past decade, “rising costs have led employers to trim away at the benefits offered to their workers.” Conservative policy shifts in the 1990s led employers to hold onto high-deductible premiums in order to keep their own costs down.

In 2003, Gail Shearer of the Consumers’ Union aptly predicted that “the year 2003 may well go down in health care history as the year that the health care system began to rapidly evolve toward a system characterized by health insurance deductibles in the range of $1,500 to $2,000”.

In essence, the high-deductible issues of the ACA are symptomatic of an already-existing problem within the healthcare sector. The most recent report from the National Center for Health Statistics reveals that, from 2007 onwards, high-deductible insurance plans have grown in number among the wealthy.

Those with means can save on lower upfront cost but still afford the high fees should they need medical care. However, as the APA reports, the wealthy suffer fewer health issues than people with lower incomes. While these plans are made popular by people who have more wealth, they are harmful to those who don’t.

SingleCare’s Affordable Options

While the quality and prices of the revamped policies this year may have improved, affordable health insurance still remains out of the reach for millions of Americans who need it. This is where SingleCare can help.

SingleCare offers a plethora of affordable options for those faced with high deductibles or lack coverage. Options include reduced prices for most routine health checkups, without the high monthly subscription fees or premiums. Pricing is always transparent, so members know exactly how much services will cost before their visit.

(Main image credit: Creatas/Thinkstock)