Americans Concerned About Exchange Out-Of-Pocket Costs


Across income levels, the amount Americans say they can afford to spend out-of-pocket on health care costs annually is far below the deductibles, copayments, and other costs for most health plans offered on the Exchanges, according to recent research from HealthMarkets, Inc. For example, the survey found that individuals in households earning the current U.S. median income of approximately $52,000 believe they can afford to spend up to an average of $976 on out-of-pocket health care costs annually, while a household of four in that same income bracket could face costs of up to $10,400 under a Silver plan on the Exchange.

In addition, HealthMarkets found that a 59 percent of survey respondents do not believe the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has had an impact on their lives. Of those who do believe the ACA has impacted them, 78 percent view the effect as negative: 48 percent claim that their taxes are higher and 55 percent claim their health insurance is more expensive under the law. Only 20 percent believe they now have better health care coverage.

“The ACA has changed the health insurance landscape tremendously and nearly everyone agrees that having more people insured is positive. However, current educational efforts have not produced the level of understanding required to ensure Americans are making informed decisions to protect both their physical and financial health,” said Kenneth Fasola, president and CEO of HealthMarkets, Inc. “Just because someone is covered by a qualified health plan with monthly premiums they can afford, does not mean that they have selected a plan they can afford to use or that they are adequately protected from financial hardship in the event of a serious medical problem. With legislation this significant and complex, it is critical that the right resources are in place to create informed consumers.”

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