“We cannot afford it” seems to be the common complaint among consumers who signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The New York Times has a devastating new report out about how the law’s high deductibles have given Americans “sticker shock.”
In many states, more than half the plans offered for sale through HealthCare.gov, the federal online marketplace, have a deductible of $3,000 or more, a New York Times review has found. Those deductibles are causing concern among Democrats — and some Republican detractors of the health law, who once pushed high-deductible health plans in the belief that consumers would be more cost-conscious if they had more of a financial stake or skin in the game.
Here are just a couple of the health law’s unfortunate users.
“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.”
Josie Gibb of Albuquerque pays about $400 a month in premiums, after subsidies, for a silver-level insurance plan with a deductible of $6,000. “The deductible,” she said, “is so high that I have to pay for everything all year — visits with a gynecologist, a dermatologist, all blood work, all tests. It’s really just a catastrophic policy.”
"I bet if you took a poll, most folks wouldn’t know when that check comes in that this was because of Obamacare (laughter) -- that they got this extra money in their pockets. But that's what's happening," he said.
He felt emboldened to make such a claim because of the supposed lower premiums families would be paying. However, for Americans like Karin Rosner and Kevin Fanning, the low premium does little to offset their high deductible costs.
“While my premiums are affordable, the out-of-pocket expenses required to meet the deductible are not,” said Ms. Rosner, who makes about $30,000 a year.
Mr. Fanning, the North Texan, said he and his wife had a policy with a monthly premium of about $500 and an annual deductible of about $10,000 after taking account of financial assistance. Their income is about $32,000 a year.
The prices are convincing some that they would be better off rejecting the insurance plan and paying the $695 penalty, according to the Times.
"After a century of talk, after decades of trying, after a year of sustained debate, we finally made affordable health care here in America a reality." – President Obama