Before I begin, ask yourself this: Could you and your family afford a $6,600 or, even worse, a $13,200 financial hit this year? Well, you might have to if you buy your health insurance in the ObamaCare exchanges.
Two years ago, President Obama, in defense of his namesake and signature healthcare law, said this: “No one should go broke just because they get sick.” Sadly, this is another example of the "if you like your doctor, you can keep you doctor" lie.
According to an entry placed in the Federal Register by the Obama Administration, an estimated 93 million Americans -- mostly middle class and mostly employer-subsidized -- will lose their then-current health insurance and be forced into buying it through the state or federal ObamaCare "exchanges". In doing so, most will lose policies which are low cost; have low deductibles; and, where the employee typically only pays 20% of the bill after the deductible is met.
In a review of 2014 employer-subsidized policies by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average worker paid $4,823 for their insurance and, the average deductible was only $1,217. Also, most plans (54%) have an annual out-of-pocket limit of about $3,000 per individual and double that per family. Another 10% have limits of $1,500/3,000 a year. The remainder may have limits as high as $5,000; but, in doing so, that is also the maximum out-of-pocket expense. In return for the high deductible, the insured pay extremely low premiums. Generally, these are called catastrophic policies.
So, how do those statistics stack up against the supposedly "affordable" polices sold under the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare)?
First of all, ObamaCare policies come in four flavors -- Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum -- with the Bronze plans being the most "affordable". Every one of these plans has the same maximum annual out-of-pocket limit of $6,600 per individual; and, $13,200 per family. That fact, alone, forces insurers to tinker with the cost of premiums, deductibles, ans cost sharing percentages in order to get the same amount of money out of you, no matter which plan, for your particular coverage age and the ages of your family. So, in essence, you are better off just buying the cheaper Bronze plan.
Now, I have already shown that the annual out-of-pocket cost is substantially higher than any of the employee-provided policies. But, the deductibles, too, are a lot higher. The average deductible for the Bronze plans in 2014 was $5,181 per individual; and, $10,545 per family. That's more than 4 times higher than the average employer insurance deductible of $1,217. Its these two factors -- the deductible and the out-of pocket -- that are putting millions of Americans at financial risk.
To understand this, you need to know that Americans aren't big savers. The average middle class family only has about $20,000 in savings; theoretically for retirement. And, of course, people in the lower middle class probably have less and tend to live from paycheck to paycheck. So, having a deductible of $1,217 and an out-of-pocket cap of between $1,500 and $3,011 in the event that an individual or family member is really sick will probably put a dent in savings but, nowhere near the dent that ObamaCare will make. With the average deductible at $5,181 or the maximum per individual out-of-pocket expense being $6,600, we are talking about wiping out one-third of the average middle class family's savings and it could literally leave lower income people with empty bank accounts. But, what if two people in a family get seriously ill? Do you really think they can afford a $13,200 out-of-pocket expense? And, what if one or more family members have two seriously ill years?
In my opinion, ObamaCare is putting millions at serious financial risk by forcing them into insurance policies that they can't afford. Many will have to either file bankruptcy, take on hefty personal loans, or sell assets because of the healthcare debt that they will incur when someone in the family gets seriously ill. Others will see large chunks of their retirement savings erased. And, don't think a lot of this can't happen to a large number of people. An E.R. visit for a sprained ankle costs, on average, $1498. But, if surgery is required, the tab could be as high as $24,000. A kidney stone costs an average of $4,247 to treat; with the high end cost for advanced diagnosis and medical treatment being $39,408. A serious headache could cost as much as $17,421.
So, once again, Obama is telling you what he thinks you want to hear and not the truth. Never once did he ever directly say that ObamaCare will keep you from going broke. He simply stated that “No one should go broke...” Then, he allowed you to make that false mental connection. This way, if you do go broke, he can say he never promised that you wouldn't.
White House Blog: Weekly Wrap Up: “No one should go broke just because they get sick”: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/09/27/weekly-wrap-no-one-should-go-broke-just-because-they-get-sick
Obama Officials In 2010: 93 Million Americans Will Be Unable To Keep Their Health Plans Under Obamacare: http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2013/10/31/obama-officials-in-2010-93-million-americans-will-be-unable-to-keep-their-health-plans-under-obamacare/
Employer-Sponsored Family Health Premiums Rise 3 Percent in 2014: http://kff.org/health-costs/press-release/employer-sponsored-family-health-premiums-rise-3-percent-in-2014/
2014 Employer Health Benefits Survey: http://kff.org/report-section/ehbs-2014-summary-of-findings/
Forbes: In Obamacare, Go For Bronze Health Plans: http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottgottlieb/2014/01/24/in-obamacare-go-for-bronze-for-most-consumers-buying-up-to-gold-or-platinum-plans-may-be-waste-of-money/
Bronze Plan Statistics: http://www.healthpocket.com/individual-health-insurance/bronze-health-plans#.VM5l_S6S-Ng
Middle-class adults have $20K saved for retirement: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2014/10/22/retirement-savings-middle-class/17681877/
An average ER visit costs more than an average month’s rent: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/03/02/an-average-er-visit-costs-more-than-an-average-months-rent/