Consumers are facing higher deductibles for their health care plans
More people than ever before have been able to acquire health insurance coverage, particularly through exchange marketplaces, but they are beginning to encounter a problem they may not have expected: Growing deductibles. Deductibles for employer-sponsored coverage have grown by 67% since 2010, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. HealthPocket, a health plan comparison site, shows that the average deductible for the least expensive coverage available through exchanges stands at $5,700 for 2016.
Deductibles are higher for policies with low premiums
Deductibles are the amount of money that consumers must pay out-of-pocket before their coverage kicks in. Higher deductibles are usually associated with insurance policies that have low premiums. More expensive policies tend to have lower deductibles, but consumers have favored so called Bronze Tier plans available through exchanges because of their low premiums. The way that consumers adjust to higher deductibles may become a problem, as many people are avoiding medical care so they can mitigate costs.
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Some consumers are choosing to abandon insurance coverage as a way to save money
For some, avoiding medical care is simply not enough. These people have abandoned health insurance coverage completely, opting instead to deal with a federal penalty imposed on the uninsured. Researchers from the University of California, Berkley, found that consumers tend to find ways to cut their insurance expenses when faced with high deductibles. For those that chose to go uninsured, deductibles were not the only costly matter, of course, as they also had a problem with the premiums associated with their health insurance policies.
Premiums are also growing as insurers fight to mitigate financial losses
Premiums, and not just deductibles, have been going up over the past few years. There are many factors affecting premiums, but one of the most common is the financial losses that insurers are experiencing. Due to the Affordable Care Act, more people now have insurance coverage and they are using this coverage relatively frequently, which has lead to higher claims payments for insurers. In order to balance losses, they have taken to raising premiums.