The Affordable Care Act promised low cost health insurance and cost assistance to millions of Americans who were uninsured. Today more than 12 million have signed up for an Obamacare plan through their state exchange or the federal marketplace, and the uninsured rate has hit an all-time low. But what are the side effects?
During open enrollment, millions of Americans purchased a high deductible health insurance plan, plans that offer lower cost monthly premiums, but big gaps between the first dollar spent on medical bills and when health insurance actually kicks in to begin paying for coverage.
To combat rising healthcare costs, many are turning to affordable supplemental health insurance plans that help cover accident and critical illness medical bills that may not be covered by a high deductible health insurance plan. If a parent has an accident-prone child or an active participator in sporting activities, accidents that result in a broken wrist can cost up to $6,000 after an emergency room visit, doctor’s fee, X-ray and setting the fracture. If a family deductible can be as high as $10,000, the entire cost of the fractured wrist is the family’s responsibility without supplemental health insurance. With a supplemental insurance plan, the family would receive cash benefits (dollar amount depends on the level of coverage they have) to pay for the medical bills.
A life-changing critical illness can never be planned for, but if a diagnosis occurs, the pending medical debt can be astronomical. The treatment of breast cancer in its early stages averages to be $22,000. Costs rise with the severity of the stage of cancer. With more than 100 different types of cancer that have been found, the disease is a medical reality for many.
A 2015 Kaiser Family Foundation study found that only 51% of American families have $5,000 in liquid assets to pay for emergency expenses like healthcare costs. In a separate study, Kaiser asked individuals if they could afford a lower, $1,500 medical bill. The study noted that 43% of Americans would have to place the $1,500 debt on a credit card, and 15% of individuals wouldn’t be able to pay the debt at all.
With medical debt leading the majority of bankruptcy filings today, supplemental health insurance plans can be the life preserver for a family’s financial future.