Consumers who buy the minimum required level of health coverage in an Affordable Care Act health care environment could be responsible for handling thousands of dollars of medical costs out of pocket.
Analaysts at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Menlo Park, Calif., come to that conclusion in a report prepared using actuarial analyses from Actuarial Research Corp., Columbia, Md.; the Aon Hewitt of Aon Corp., Chicago (NYSE:AON); and Towers Watson & Company, New York (NYSE:TW).
The analysts looked at the deductibles and out-of-pocket spending limits consumers might see if they buy individual health coverage through the new health insurance exchanges that are supposed to come online in 2014.
Many Republicans and some Democrats are trying to block implementation of part or all of the Affordable Care Act, the legislative package that includes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA).
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If PPACA takes effect as written and works as supporters have hoped, consumers will be able to use subsidies to buy coverage through the exchanges, which are supposed to help match individual consumers and small employer groups with health insurers.
PPACA requires exchanges to offer coverage with 4 levels of actuarial value — bronze, silver, gold, and platinum.
The bronze-level plans are supposed to cost the least and cover the smallest share of