Yet again the consumer gets hit with the bill as big government and big insurance rape the American public. As most everyone has seen, the burden of medical cost is now shifting to the consumer as we all pay more for our healthcare. Unfortunately, instead of reforming healthcare, Obama has created an even greater financial abyss to which our entire healthcare system is falling:
The practice of upfront payment for non-emergency care has been spreading in the U.S. as deductibles rise. Now, the advent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is likely to accelerate that trend.
Many of the plans offered through the law’s insurance exchanges have low initial premiums to attract customers, while carrying significant deductibles and other out-of-pocket cost sharing. The second-lowest tier of Obamacare plans in California, for example, carries a $2,000 annual deductible.
Hospitals say they need to charge patients prior to treatment because Americans are increasingly on the hook for more of their own medical costs. And once care is provided, it’s often difficult for hospitals to collect.
“It used to be taboo to look like you were looking for money at a time when you were supposed to be focused on patient care,” David Williams, president of Boston-based consulting firm Health Business Group, said. “It’s not taboo anymore.”
Employers are following suit as they push workers to share more financial responsibility for health care. The percentage of insured workers with a deductible of $1,000 or more for single coverage jumped to 34 percent in 2012 from 12 percent in 2007, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust.
Overall, the number of people with high deductible plans rose to 15.5 million in 2013 from 1 million in 2005, according to America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s lobbying group in Washington. The Internal Revenue Service largely defines high deductible health plans as those with an annual deductible of $1,250 or more for individual coverage.
“We expect the trend toward high deductibles to continue,” said Ceci Connolly, managing director of PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute in Washington. “There’s nothing in the law that curbs high deductibles and we very much expect more and more employers to move to high-deductible plans.”