High Deductibles With Private Health Insurance Make Americans Forgo Treatment

by Vanessa Jones on  November 29, 2014 at 3:34 PM Health Insurance News
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Millions of Americans now have health insurance due to the Affordable Care Act, but at the same time due to the increase of High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP), health care is no longer affordable.
 High Deductibles With Private Health Insurance Make Americans Forgo Treatment
High Deductibles With Private Health Insurance Make Americans Forgo Treatment

Under HDHP's the patients have to take care of a large portion of their own healthcare expenses, the Internal Revenue Service classifies a plan as HDHP when the deductible is $ 1,300 or more for an individual and for a family $2,600. Some plans available through exchanges have very high deductibles even higher than the 'Bronze' plan where a person spends at least $ 3,600 before the benefits are available.

According to a report by the Associated Press - NORC Center for Public Affairs Research - 1 in 8 Americans had to forgo essentials like food or finish their savings when they are trapped by HDHP's. It was found that 23% with HDHP's skipped a medical test or treatment and 29% did not bother to see a doctor.

The alleged intent of forcing so many costs onto patients is to make them better consumers of healthcare. Instead, studies have shown that those on the plans simply avoid getting non-preventative care, especially for their children. The American Academy of Pediatrics(AAP) is so concerned that it recommends that HDHPs be sold only to adults.

"HDHPs discourage use of no preventive primary care and thus are at odds with most recommendations for improving the organization of health care, which focus on strengthening primary care," AAP said in a statement, according to Covering Health.

In all plans it is necessary to have preventive care with annual health checks and if there is a problem the clock starts ticking. According to a report 13% Americans have deductibles of more than 10% of their annual income. Those in lower income brackets are hit especially hard.

"The results of this survey show that these trends toward greater cost-sharing, combined with little or no growth in median family income, have left many working Americans in the middle and lower end of the income distribution with large healthcare cost burdens," the report's authors wrote. "Cost-sharing in health plans is affecting people's medical decisions in ways that should be of concern to policymakers and the medical community."

Reference: Steve Straehley

Source: Medindia

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