When regulators were starting to set up the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) public exchange system, most consumer groups talked about how wonderful coverage expansion would be.
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation had analysts look hard at the PPACA plan design rules in 2011 and found that the deductibles for holders of typical bronze plan holders might range from $2,750 to $6,350.
Rod Humphrey, a broker, pointed out in September 2013 that many families that bought the cheapest PPACA plans without help from government subsidies could face out-of-pocket maximum levels of about $13,000.
PPACA defenders noted at the time that typical consumers in the individual health insurance markets in some states already faced deductibles and out-of-maximum limits in that range, but the expected cost-sharing levels come as a shock to consumers used to the relatively modest cost-sharing arrangements in place at typical group health plans.
Now some people close to medical billing are starting to notice that patients cannot necessarily come up with enough cash to cover bills for out-of-pocket costs. An executive at LifePoint, a hospital company, noted earlier this month that his company is having to make allowances for patients’ cost-sharing problems.
Now Sara Collins and other researchers at the Commonwealth Fund have noted in a new survey report that, even in the age of PPACA, consumers continue to have problems with out-of-pocket costs. The higher-income consumers in the category might be good prospects for hospital indemnity insurance, accident insurance, health care credit products, and other products that can fill major medical coverage gaps.
The Commonwealth Fund analysts had data on 2,751 insured U.S. adults ages 19 to 64 who were polled this fall. The analysts did not break down the results according to whether the survey participants had PPACA exchange coverage, other PPACA-compliant coverage, or major medical coverage that does not meet the PPACA requirements that started to take effect Jan. 1, 2014.
For a look of some of the analysts’ findings, read on.