While hundreds marched Saturday in downtown Atlanta, GA., at the Wisconsin state capitol, and in other parts of the country, to show their opposition to changing the Affordable Care Act, one woman’s story was released of how bad Obamacare has affected her with overwhelming out-of-pocket costs and high deductibles.
Kim Quade, 61, left her job of 17 years as a school speech pathologist outside Kansas City, Kansas, to work independently and she knew she would have to purchase her own health insurance but she never anticipated the rate increases to come, Senior American Association (SAA) reported.
Quade researched options and found a decent plan for a fair price. In 2013, she changed her health insurance carrier and purchased a plan for $188 per month.
“It had a health savings account attached to it, it had a $5,000 deductible on it, but it was OK because I had money I was able to squirrel away into my health savings account,” Quade told The Daily Signal.
Quade says she liked this plan, in part because she believes health savings accounts are patient-centered and should be encouraged.
“It was something that I was able to take care of on my own and I was happy about it. It’s the way I was raised: You take care of yourself,” Quade says.
Mia Heck, director of the Health and Human Services Task Force at the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, told The Daily Signal last month that health savings accounts can help Americans plan independently for their future.
“A health savings account is a pre-tax medical savings account available for taxpayers who are enrolled in a high-deductible health plan,” Heck said. “The high-deductible health plan serves as catastrophic coverage, while encouraging individuals and families to save money to use toward future medical expenses. Funds deposited into an HSA are not subject to federal income tax.”
Over the years, Quade says, her situation changed drastically. In 2015, her $188 monthly premium more than doubled to $399 per month.
She was willing to pay the increased rate, Quade says, because “I had my regular health care doctor and specialist, and I wanted to keep these people very much.”
“I didn’t want to lose them, so I bit the bullet.”
But when her monthly premium went up an additional $200, Quade says, she decided to make a change.
Quade says she and her husband reluctantly entered the federal Obamacare exchange, purchased a family plan, and stayed on it until her husband turned 65. He transferred to Medicare, and she, again, shopped for a new health insurance plan.
She says she had two goals: keep her health savings account and both of her doctors. She was able to do this at a price of $773 per month, she says, and after receiving a subsidy her monthly payment is $333—still nearly double what she was paying in 2013.
Ali Meyer of the Washington Free Beacon reported on a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation that showed Trump supporters who received coverage through the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) said they were overwhelmed by out-of-pocket costs and high deductibles.
The survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation presented a dim view of Obamacare and Trump supporters’ wants it replaced immediately.
Some of the data from the survey showed that although some participants reported positive experiences with Marketplace coverage and found it affordable, many were overwhelmed by unaffordable out-of-pocket costs associated with high deductibles.
Participants were also frustrated by surprise medical bills and the high cost of prescription medications. Improving the affordability of coverage (in terms of premiums and especially out-of-pocket costs) was Marketplace participants’ top priority for an ACA replacement plan. They also wanted access to a broader range of doctors and hospitals, simplification of health plan choices, greater transparency on coverage and costs, elimination of the individual mandate, continuation of ACA coverage of pre-existing conditions, and the ability to tailor coverage to fit their needs (even if sicker people would pay more for coverage).
Participants almost universally rejected the idea of low-premium, high-deductible plans coupled with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), which are expected to be a key element of Republican replacement plans. They feared that the deductibles would be unaffordable, causing people to avoid seeking needed care, and felt that they would not be able to build up enough savings even with an HSA to cover the out-of-pocket costs associated with a high deductible plan.
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