Tags: Healthcare Reform | Obamacare | health care | deductibles | health insurance

Study: Many With Health Coverage Still Can't Afforded Needed Care

By    |   Thursday, 14 May 2015 06:25 PM

One in four people who bought health insurance on their own couldn’t afford needed care despite Obamacare's progress in cutting the ranks of the uninsured, a new study shows.

And among low- and middle-income adults, the proportion of people who couldn't afford the care was even higher, at nearly one third, according to the Families USA study, released Thursday.

"Simply having health insurance is no guarantee that consumers can afford to pay for health care," the study says. "Health insurance involves different types of costs that consumers must pay out of pocket — ranging from a health plan’s deductible to copayments at a doctor’s office. These expenses add up, and research has shown that even nominal cost-sharing can deter people from getting needed care."

The study notes more than 14 million previously uninsured Americans have gained health insurance since Obamacare's open enrollment in October 2013.

Yet, "insured consumers may still have problems being able to afford care or understand their health plan’s benefits," the report states. "They may face high deductibles before their plans begin to pay for any care beyond preventive services. And after meeting their deductibles, they may still have to pay steep copayments and co-insurance until they reach their annual limit on out-of-pocket expenses."

The study found more than half of the adults who bought such plans had deductibles of $1,500 or more, and that nearly 30 percent of people with deductibles at that level skimped on care; the number dropped to about 20 percent among those with deductibles under $1,500.

"Proponents of high deductibles argue that because high-deductible plans require consumers to pay more of their medical costs up front, these plans give consumers an incentive to use health care more wisely," the study said. "However, our findings and previous research tell a different and more troubling story: High deductibles are associated with consumers having difficulty getting the care they need."

Of adults who were insured for a full year, 25.2 percent did not get necessary medical care, including tests, treatments and medications. Of lower to middle-income adults, 32.3 percent reported not getting care they needed.

Those with higher deductibles were more likely to skip getting care, the study found.

Researchers excluded dental care in their study, because most health plans don't cover it for adults. Obamacare only considers it a necessary health benefit for children.

As a result, researchers said numerous reports show dental care is the most common type of care skipped by adults, the Washington Times reports; nearly a quarter of those who held health coverage for a full year said they didn't go to the dentist because it cost too much.

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One in four people who bought health insurance on their own couldn't afford needed care - despite Obamacare's progress in cutting the ranks of the uninsured, a new study shows.
Obamacare, health care, deductibles, health insurance
Thursday, 14 May 2015 06:25 PM
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