Friday, May 12, 2017

Health Care Scare: Americans can't shoot the gap to coverage

Photo courtesy Pixabay.com
Two recent news reports indicate that most Americans will not be able to activate their health care coverage if a medical event occurs.

National Public Radio (NPR) reported that 90 percent of individuals buying insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) choose plans with $3000 deductibles or higher. Deductibles are the amount that the insured person must pay, before the health insurance policy starts to cover medical costs.

It's clear that high deductibles are a disaster for many. A recent study by Bankrate.com indicates 63% of U.S. residents would not be able to cover a $500 unexpected expense.

High deductibles, no cash at home. Consider parents, who receive a call from their son's grade school. The boy took a fall on the playground and has broken his wrist. Once inside the door at the emergency room, most of the $3000 has already been spent. 

Lawdictionary.com tells us first, you'll need an X-ray to confirm the bone break, for $150 to $220. Then a possible CT scan could be required, costing another $500 to $1000. Splint or cast setting will add $200 to $400; three or four visits to the doctor will run between $150 and $300.

These projected medical costs are assuming the fracture wasn't compound. If it's a separated bone break, surgery will be required and it will cost several times more to repair the damage.

The scenario is a terrifying proposition, for someone who doesn't have $500 to start the process.

The future of health care is, at the moment, unknown. New policies and coverage programs will be presented soon. What is known is that without substantial savings, you can't shoot the gap from deductible cost to policy coverage. That's something for everyone to consider going forward. 

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