According to a new study insurers may stop accepting payments through
credit or debit cards, which will leave those without bank accounts in a fix.
Health Insurance companies are in a frenzy preparing for The Affordable Care Act - starting next year, as they will need to cut costs. Insurers will now need to allocate part of the premiums to care instead of overhead costs such as profits and marketing. A portion of this overhead cost pays for debit and credit card transaction fees, so many of them do not accept payments on cards.
BlueCross Blue Shield of Tennessee and HealthNet no longer accept premium payments made via cards.
This becomes an issue as a considerable number of Americans don't have bank accounts and will not have means to pay premiums. A 2011 study conducted by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation showed that one in every 12 American families did not have bank accounts. The Jackson Hewitt report focuses those numbers further: "Among the uninsured, non-elderly population with household incomes in the tax credit eligible range, 27% are effectively 'unbanked,'" it says.
"Since we're still working through the regulations, it is too early to know what payment methods will be required for products purchased on the new Health Insurance Marketplace," says Mary Danielson, a spokesperson for Blue Cross Blue Shield in Tennessee.
This issue will need to be addressed before October 2013, as majority of these people are those with no health insurance.
Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)
Shelley DuBois, May 2013