Americans have heard the stories about rising health insurance premiums and other problems with ObamaCare. But what they may not know is that the law makes consumer-driven health insurance plans virtually non-existant.
Health saving accounts (HSAs) have served as a effective, affordable type of health insurance plan for Americans, particularly young people, who don’t visit a doctor too often. HSAs allow people to set aside tax-free money from their paycheck to use for qualified out-of-pocket healthcare expenses, which counts toward paying your deductible, and have catastrophic coverage if an unforeseen need should arise.
But ObamaCare has effectively gutted this type of consumer-driven healthcare, further giving lie to President Obama’s claim that “if you like your insurance plan, you can keep it,” as recently outlined by Michelle Andrews of Kaiser Health News:
Rod Coons and Florence Peace pay $403 a month for a family health plan that covers barely any medical care for either of them until he or she reaches $10,000 in claims in a given year. And that’s just the way they like it.
“I’m only really interested in catastrophic coverage,” says Coons, 58, who retired last year after selling an electronics manufacturing business in Indianapolis. Beyond their premium, the couple typically spends no more than $500 annually on medical care, Coons says. “I’d prefer to stay with our current plan.”
That won’t be an option next year. In 2014, plans sold on the individual and small-group markets will have to meet new standards for coverage and cost-sharing, among other things. In addition to providing 10 so-called essential health benefits and covering many preventive-care services at no cost, plans must pay at least 60 percent of allowed medical expenses and cap annual out-of-pocket spending at $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for families. (The only exception is for plans that have grandfathered status under the law.)
Plans with $10,000 deductibles won’t make the cut, experts say, nor will many other plans that require high cost-sharing or provide limited benefits — by excluding prescription drugs or doctor visits from coverage, for example. Plans next year can continue to be linked to a health savings account, however.
Andrews also points out that many people who have high-deductible plans aren’t aware that ObamaCare effectively does away with their coverage. The law is forcing them, in many instances, to go through one of the health insurance exchanges to obtain a new policy, even if they’re happy with their current plan.
This is an example of the programs with a one-size fits all approach to healthcare policy. There is no question that many Americans, especially those who are high-risk, need an insurance plan that covers more than just occasional medical costs.
But there is a large contingent of the public that don’t need the “essential benefits” mandated under ObamaCare. Insurance coverage — whether it’s life or health — is supposed to guard against catastrophic loss. High-deductible plans are now less attractive to Americans who would benefit from them, pushing them into much more expensive plans for which they have little use.
ObamaCare was about many things. But most of all, it was about giving more power to the government and bureaucrats and taking power away from individuals to make healthcare choices that best suit their needs.