Family Healthcare Costs Rising

 

If you think your family healthcare expenses are rising, you’re not alone. Despite the promises of the promoters of ObamaCare that it would lower healthcare costs, the opposite is happening.

It used to be that people worried most about the price of the insurance premium but cared little about the deductibles. Today it’s important to figure both into your family healthcare budget. Since the full amount of the deductible must be paid before any healthcare benefits are paid, the deductible has a significant impact.

Robert Book, writing in Forbes, says ObamaCare exchange premiums are up nationwide; a lot in some states but less in others. But the real story is the rise in deductibles. The national average deductible for 2016 is up by 11 percent to $11,601 for bronze family plans, and 8 percent to $6,480 for silver family plans.

Premiums vary by age and the number of family members. The average annual bronze premium for a family of two 40-year-olds is $6,957; for two 50-year-olds it is $9,727. Families with children pay slightly more. The average annual silver premium is $8,424 for two 40-year-olds and $11,778 for two 50-year-olds.

 

Family Premium                 Bronze Plan              Silver Plan

40-year-olds                         $6,957                       $8,424

50-year-olds                         $9,727                       $11,778

 

Book summarizes the bad news: “This means that a typical family headed by middle-aged parents and two or three children could easily spend as much as $20,000 or more in 2016 on health care, without collecting a single dollar of covered benefits.”

Pre-ObamaCare Comparison

The average deductible for an individually purchased family plan in 2009 (the last year before the passage of ObamaCare) was $5,514 for a PPO plan and average premiums were substantially lower as well. The average family premiums were much lower. The average family premium in 2009 for a family headed by a 45 –to-49 year-old covered an average of 3.33 family members for an annual premium of $6,404. With average coverage the family had to spend less than $12,000 on healthcare before the benefits kicked in.

Perhaps you argue that ObamaCare gives you many healthcare benefits for “free.” It is true that ObamaCare pays the full cost of those treatments it considers “preventive,” but excludes specifically any care that is related to any actual illness or injury. But beware the definition of “preventive care” since ObamaCare defines it differently than you or I would in normal conversation.

For instance, most people over the age of forty today are taking medication to lower cholesterol or blood pressure to prevent heart disease or a stroke, but ObamaCare does not consider this preventive care. The White House considers this treatment for hyperlipidemia and hypertension. Therefore you must pay for this treatment.

Most men over fifty get PSA levels checked and have digital rectal exams (DREs) to detect early prostate cancer, much like women have mammograms to detect breast cancer. But since prostate screening recommendations have changed recently (Prostate Cancer Screening Challenged), ObamaCare won’t pay for these tests.

The proponents of ObamaCare promised it would reduce overall healthcare costs and improve health by making preventive care more accessible and by preventing illness that required more expensive treatments. But if people cannot afford the deductibles or the high cost of medications, the opposite happens.

That is in fact what the Affordable Care Act has brought us. With higher premiums and much higher deductibles, the cost of family healthcare is rising. And the rising cost of healthcare has made it harder, not easier, for people to afford the relatively low-cost treatments that were supposed to prevent the more serious illnesses that are much more costly to treat.

But don’t look for things to get any better in the near future. At the end of 2016, the risk corridor provisions that are bailing out the insurance companies will expire. Then we’ll experience the true cost of ObamaCare insurance as the insurance companies pass along to the consumers the un-subsidized cost of healthcare coverage.

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