Over the next 18 months, between one quarter and one half of Americans who get insurance coverage through their employers will pay more of their doctor bills themselves as companies roll out healthcare plans with higher deductibles, benefits consultants say. The result: sticker shock.
“They have huge out-of-pocket costs before they get any insurance coverage, it’s a real slap in the face,” said Ron Pollack, the executive director of Families USA, a healthcare advocacy group.
Mr. Pollack is reacting — badly — to a back to the future shift in health insurance, to a period prior to the emergence of all inclusive managed care plans in the 1970s and 1980s. We are witnessing the re-emergence of health insurance that was known in period following WWII as “major medical.” It was a true insurance product insofar as insurance by definition is designed to cover high cost, unexpected needs such as a hospital stay. Routine, out of pocket costs were just that: paid out of the patient’s pocket. And from all indications, it’s here to stay.
Need a speaker or webinar presenter on the Affordable Care Act and the outlook for health care reform? Contact Pilot Healthcare Strategies Principal Fred Pilot by email