Consumers expected to see major shift in health insurance costs in 18 months
U.S. consumers may be in for a shock if they need to visit the hospital for any reason soon. Over the next 18 months, employer-sponsored health insurance is expected to become vastly more expensive as companies push workers to contribute more to their policies. Other companies are expected to drop coverage in an attempt to cut costs, driving workers to seek out policies from private insurance companies, which are also looking to limit their exposure to financial loss. As a result, consumers are expected to begin paying much more for the medical care they receive, even if it is something so simple as an examination.
High deductible plans becoming more popular with employers
High deductible health insurance plans are becoming all the rage amongst U.S. employers. These plans have a higher out-of-pocket threshold that means consumers will be paying more for care before the costs are covered by their insurance provider. These policies could potentially cost consumers a great deal of money if they ever have to go to the hospital, but are very affordable for employers. High deductible plans are typically much less expensive that other types of health insurance plans because insurers are less prone to serious financial losses.
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High deductible plans considered viable for insurers and businesses, not for consumers
The shift toward high deductible plans is being attributed to the changes coming to the country’s health insurance industry through the Affordable Care Act. The federal health care law introduces new regulations to the health insurance industry, forcing insurers to adapt or face serious consequences. In many cases, health insurance companies have interpreted the changes made by the Affordable Care Act to mean that the cost of coverage should go up.
2013 may be the calm before the storm
Towers Watson, a leading consultancy and human resources firm, suggests that 2013 will be comparable to the calm before the storm. In 2014, the changes from the Affordable Care Act take full effect. Consumers may not be prepared to see the massive spike in costs when the federal law is fully enacted. For those that find that their employer-sponsored health insurance is either too expensive or gone entirely, affordable options may be found through state-based health insurance exchanges, which are also schedule to begin operating in 2014.