High deductibles main reason Americans go without medical care

Families USA: 1 in 4 Americans did not receive care because of costs

One in four adults with non-group healthcare coverage did not receive needed care because it cost too much, according to a new report from nonprofit Families USA.

The report analyzed data from the Urban Institute's Health Reform Monitoring Survey of adults who purchased private, non-group coverage for individual or family plans in 2014.

Among adults who purchased non-group coverage, the report found that the proportion of enrollees who had lower to middle incomes rose from 25.4 percent in 2013 to 36.9 percent in 2014. The percent of adults who purchased non-group insurance with no deductible increased from 3.6 percent in 2013 to 10.6 percent in 2014.

Additionally, the report found that, out of adults with deductibles of $1,500 or more per person, nearly 30 percent went without needed care because they couldn't afford it. For those with deductibles under $1,500 a person, only 19.6 percent went without care.

When it comes to selecting health plans, most individuals chose bronze and silver plans because of the lower premiums--the average deductible of silver plans in 2014 ranged between $2,267 and $3,030, noted the report.

Insurers can do more to make their plans more affordable for consumers. Connecticut's health insurance exchange, for instance, requires all insurers to offer a silver plan that exempts basic outpatient services--such as prescriptions for generic drugs--from the $3,000 deductible, reported the Washington Post. In turn, the consumer pays a co-pay of $10 for the drug prescription.

Even though high deductibles are part of a growing cost-sharing trend in health insurance--which has helped reduce the increased rate in health spending--the recent debate at hand is whether high deductibles actually help or harm people's health, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

For more:
- here's the report (.pdf)
- check out the Washington Post article

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