Higher Health Insurance Deductibles Changing Consumer Health Care Habits
Higher health insurance deductibles are changing the way consumers seek medical care and could hurt their health in the long run. Simply having health insurance is not enough to persuade consumers they can afford to see a doctor or go to the emergency room if they are ill.
According to a recent health care study by The Associated Press, one out of four consumers doubt they could afford to pay for a major illness or injury, citing higher deductibles would cause them to deplete their life’s savings.
Some consumers are not aware that their new Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance plans come with hefty deductibles until they go to the doctor or hospital and get hit with a large medical bill they are responsible to pay for. While others are fully aware of the high deductibles and are putting off medical care until it is absolutely necessary.
The latest survey reveals how consumers are changing their health care habits:
- 19% of consumers said they did not go to the doctor when they were sick or injured, because of costs. Among those with high-deductible plans, the figure was 29 percent;
- 17% skipped a recommended test or treatment; 23 percent among those with high-deductible plans
- 18% went without a physical exam or other preventive care; 24 percent among those with high-deductible plans.
Consumers are also adjusting their lifestyles just to be able to afford medical bills:
- 33% said they cut back on entertainment; 43 percent among those with high-deductible plans
- 18% said they used up all or most of their savings; 24 percent among those with high-deductible plans
- 19% said they reduced their contributions for retirement savings; 28 percent for people with high-deductible plans.
Consumers also underscored their dissatisfaction of the mandatory ACA health insurance plans with 49% saying they are paying more for health insurance premiums and getting less coverage.