High-Deductible Plans Could Cause Some To Forgo Care
High-deductible health plans can be "a good fit for relatively healthy people with some financial means," but critics say the plans could lead to people forgoing care because they cannot afford the deductibles, the Los Angeles Times reports.
High-deductible plans, also known as consumer-driven health plans, have annual deductibles of $1,000 or more and monthly premiums that can be less than $100. According to a recent federal report, the median annual income of high-deductible plan members is $75,000.
The plans increasingly are being offered by employers but are "far more common" in the individual insurance market. Supporters of such plans say that lower premiums allow more people to obtain coverage for catastrophic illnesses or injuries and that higher deductibles could reduce health care costs as consumers become more aware of prices of medical services, the Times reports.
However, critics say the plans "'cherry pick' the healthiest consumers while saddling less healthy and poorer patients with overwhelming medical bills" if they experience an unforeseeable illness or pregnancy, according to the Times. Critics note that some people enrolled in high-deductible plans might choose not to receive care to avoid out-of-pocket expenses.
The Times profiled a family that had a health plan with a $2,500 deductible and a $335 monthly premium. Although the plan covered "an assortment of ... medical needs over the years," it has left the family with more than $10,000 in debt (Yi, Los Angeles Times, 6/3).