We don’t want people to be wondering whether they can afford to visit the doctor if they think they’ve got this contagious and possibly deadly disease. But by happenstance, ideology and shortsighted, penny-wise-pound-foolish thinking, we’ve set up a situation that will force many to do just that.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than half of all workers with employer-provided health insurance face an annual individual deductible of more than $1,000. In a survey conducted with the Los Angeles Times, about half of respondents said they or a family member postponed needed care because they were worried they couldn’t afford the bill.
The situation can be even worse for people who purchase their insurance on the individual market. The average individual deductible for a plan purchased on an Affordable Care Act exchange is more than $4,000, and only about half of purchasers receive any help with that sum via cost-sharing subsidies. The Trump administration has compounded this financial quagmire by approving the sale of so-called junk insurance plans that place hard limits on how much the plan will pay out in hospital and pharmaceutical costs in return for a lower monthly premium — frequently leading to high bills that the plans may or may not cover.