The ACA may make everyday health care expenditures affordable for the previously uninsured, but many plans offered on the federal exchange still wouldn’t offer enough financial protection to families getting a bigger bill or more serious treatment. USA Today breaks down the numbers:
Medical insurance deductibles for plans on the federal exchange covering 34 states average $3,000, and those for the least expensive, bronze-level plans average $5,082, according to the USA TODAY analysis of deductible data for HealthCare.gov. Those costs, according to a recent study, may still be more than many people can afford.The USA TODAY analysis also found the lowest out-of-pocket limits on HealthCare.gov plans were $4,350 for individuals on bronze plans and $8,700 for families, although these were not the norm and are likely paired with high premiums.
Studies conducted since the law was passed in 2010 have confirmed that federal health care programs are really only good, not for making people healthier or bending the cost curve, but for making individuals more financially secure. If it turns out that, despite the ACA, many families will still be one unexpected medical bill away from bankruptcy, the law will not even have solved the one problem it was capable of addressing.But there are two ways to make sure health care doesn’t put families aren’t in a position of radical financial insecurity: increasing subsidies to ever higher levels, or actually making health care cheaper and more efficient. Too much of our policy, including the ACA, is about the former. But there are plenty of good leads out there if we would start shifting our focus to the more sustainable long-term strategy of lowering costs through delivery innovation.