ObamaCare May Prove a Boon for Consumer-Driven Health Care

So says Drew Altman of the Kaiser Foundation, which asked three actuarial consulting firms to estimate the expected deductible for the minimum plan people will be required to buy:

In all cases, the deductibles were high — ranging from $2,750 with 30% coinsurance to $6,350 with no coinsurance for an individual policy for the basic Bronze plan in 2014, which is the minimum people can buy and satisfy the so-called “individual mandate.” Patient out-of-pocket costs would be capped at $6,350, an amount that’s specified in the ACA.  All of these amounts would be double for a family policy…

ObamaCare regulations will make health insurance very expensive. The only way people will be able to reduce their premiums is through high deductibles and copayments.

These higher deductibles are also consistent with the trends we are seeing in the marketplace. Our 2010 employer survey found that the share of workers enrolled in a higher-deductible plan (with a deductible of $1,000 or more for single coverage) has nearly tripled since 2006.  Almost half of all workers in small firms are now enrolled in such a plan. It is possible that the ACA will accelerate these trends by establishing a standard for coverage with high deductibles as a matter of national policy once the exchanges are in place.

Comments (8)

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  1. Stephen C. says:

    This is especially interesting since the White House has had not one good word to say about consumer driven health Care.

  2. Devon Herrick says:

    I’ve heard this. It remains to be seen but we know the ACA has no cost control. To the extent possible, firms will try to find ways of cutting the expense of costly insurance mandates.

  3. Linda Gorman says:

    A boon? When government is controlling the kind of care that can be offered via competitive effectiveness determinations and examining everyone’s medical record to make sure that physicians comply?

    When medical device makers and private insurers are taxed more so that they make less thus limiting consumer choice? When undefined ACOs will exist to control expenditures and there won’t be any other private insurers available? When people are not free to pick what is and is not covered, their deductibles, their copays, or even whether to finance their health care without buying insurnace?

    Some boon, especially given that the government has new power to benchmark private sector care rather than the reverse–a reversal of the situation that was the main reason why US medical care tended to be better.

  4. Donna Kinney says:

    But the deductibles (and copays) will no longer apply to most of the things that consumers can reasonably shop for because so much is now classified as preventive care that is required to be provided with NO cost to the patient. So deductibles only apply when you are sick, which is when there is less (or NO) chance to exercise discretion. So the deductibles will no longer work well as mechanisms to encourage cost/benefit decision-making and the whole purpose of consumer-directed plans is undermined. Grandfathered plans (mostly employer groups) are trying to hang on to them, but won’t be able to for long. Altman is wrong because he doesn’t understand what consumer-directed plans are about. The PPACA destroyed them.

  5. Bruce says:

    The above comments notwithstanding, I think this is the irony of ironies.

  6. Vicki says:

    I realize that Obama Care is bad. But this result may be good news.

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