ObamaCare Medical Debt Crisis

A USA Today article entitled, “Medical debt will persist despite law’s protection” provides another warning about ObamaCare.  The article by Jayne O’Donnell and Paul Overberg on January 15, 2014 is based on an analysis conducted by the newspaper.  The core of the article centers on medical expenses forcing people into debt and ultimately bankruptcy.  “Millions of Americans will get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act that will protect them from potentially ruinous medical expenses, but a new USA today analysis shows the health plans they can choose still leaves them vulnerable to thousands in deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs each year.” This conclusion can after examining HealthCare.gov data.  In essence, the lower the premium for the plan the higher the deductible people must pay.

USA Today provided this average deductible breakdown for the federal health insurance exchanges.

Bronze Plan – individual $5,082, family $10,403

Silver Plan – individual $2,932, family $6,131

Gold Plan – individual $1,276, family $2,837

Platinum Plan – individual $339, family $683

This does not include prescription drugs because they are increasingly separate deductibles.

The article pointed out that high deductible plans could lead to increase debt and possibly bankruptcy.

This came from a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2012.  The survey found that “34% of people in higher-deductible health plans had difficulty paying medical bills.”

Just a week ago, my local paper carried the story of a woman enrolled in ObamaCare.  She went to a hospital where they diagnosed her medical problem after running tests.  She was presented with a bill for close to $3,000.  Although she had a Silver Plan, her deductible was close to $5,000. (Plans vary from state to state.) She didn’t realize her deductible was so high.  She paid the bill with her credit card.

She was frustrated and dismayed by her new debt.  She complained to the newspaper that her health insurance could driver her deeper into credit card debit over the years.

Her situation was precisely what USA Today was warning about.  The deductibles are making the law unaffordable.  It will potentially create a new debtor situation and hurt the very people it is supposed to help. As one couple interviewed for article said, “Debt is only an accident or serious illness away.”


About camden41

Retired public school administrator Retired history professor: Taught Western Civilization, American Civil War, United States History, Economic History, Ancient & Medieval Foundations, American History Since 1945
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