How ‘Affordable’ Is The Affordable Care Act?
By Dr. James Palermo // January 15, 2014
UNMANAGEABLE PREMIUMS AND HIGH DEDUCTIBLES CHALLENGE POOR AMERICANS
ABOVE VIDEO: CNN reports that many families who have signed up, have found that Obamacare is actually unaffordable.
Two recent articles suggest that despite the availability of government subsidies for health plans under the Affordable Care Act, coverage may be out of reach for many poor Americans and may not protect all Americans against medical debt.
UNMANAGEABLE PREMIUMS DESPITE SUBSIDIES
As the law stands now, low-income Americans who aren’t eligible for Medicaid must rely on the financial help that is available to them on the health insurance exchanges.
Michael Ollove, a Pew/Stateline Staff Writer, examines how “affordable” the Affordable Care Act really is with a report that notes that, despite the “promise” its name suggests, “anti-poverty agencies across the country fear that even with the federal financial assistance available under the law, health insurance will remain unaffordable for significant numbers of low-income Americans.”
Janet Varon, executive director of the Northwest Health Law Advocates in Seattle, which works on health access issues, said, “Even with the subsidies, some people simply won’t be able to manage to pay their health insurance premiums consistently with all the other costs facing them.”
OUT OF POCKET COSTS OUT OF REACH FOR MANY
The ACA provides a much needed safety net, but it doesn’t necessarily solve the problem of high up-front medical expenses for those who don’t have ability to pay for them.
Jayne O’Donnell and Paul Overberg report on a USA Today analysis that revealed that while “millions of Americans will get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act that will protect them from potentially ruinous medical expenses,” the plans available under the law “still leave them vulnerable to thousands in deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs each year.”
In fact, deductibles across the 34 states on the Federal exchange “average $3000,” and those on the “least expensive, bronze-level plans average $5,082,” which may still be out of reach for many Americans. (Ollove, Pew/Stateline, 1/15; O’Donnell/Overberg, USA Today, 1/15)