It was bound to happen: healthcare premiums are going up once again. A 2017 health insurance premium increase is expected once again after an 11% increase in 2016. Early estimates are that prices in 2017 will surge along with increases in deductibles.
Leading researchers have long have warned that prices would rise dramatically on policies if plans did not receive a sufficient number of healthy people to overcome increased costs of providing care for those who desperately need health care. Insurance works on a pool concept — healthier people balance out the costs for the less healthy. In a sense, you can think of this like a “healthy tax”. With the average health insurance costs increasing, consumers should be prepared to continue to open their wallets wide.
Premiums are not the only prices increasing, as deductibles rose nearly 8% in 2016 for “silver” plans, and in some states deductibles increased by up to 76%. Deductibles are the out of pocket expenses someone with insurance has to pay before their insurance policy covers their remainder of their health care expenses.
Along with the news of significant increases in health insurance premiums, there have been continual reports of insurers leaving the Obamacare health care exchanges. These exchanges were designed for people to find health care plans from many different competing providers. These exchanges provide an easy way for people to use any health care premium credits.
United Healthcare has decided to pull out of nearly all the health care exchanges they had joined because of losses related to Obama care insurance plans. There have been other pullouts as well. In fact, there are now many counties around the US where the only health care choice on the health care exchange is Blue Cross / Blue Shield. This represents even less choice than before Obamacare for many Americans looking for health care insurance.
Along with the rise in health insurance premiums, health care costs for the uninsured have skyrocketed. Medical costs have continued to increase because of simple supply and demand. There are more people on insurance and the health care infrastructure has not yet expanded to cover the increased demand. Costs associated with the increased paperwork requirements of the ACA and other laws have furthered increased the cost of health care.
If you don’t have insurance, it’s going to get tougher to get insurance. The poor have free or subsidized insurance but those who make more than the guidelines receive little to no help to pay the spiraling costs of health care insurance. The promise of Obama care insurance has been fulfilled for some but others have been left less able to afford insurance than before.
Some of those without insurance have found that using their Health Care Spending Accounts, also known as HSAs, is a way to overcome some of the costs associated with no health care. Some employers even provide matching funds for their employee’s HSA. Since the employee contributions in the account are taken out before taxes, employees actually get a tax benefit on HSA contributions.
These accounts are easy to use for employees to get their health care, and some are using these even more since the arrival of Obamacare.
The use of HSAs are not the only innovative solutions that those without insurance can use to fight increasing premiums. Some private clinics have come up with interesting plans to help uninsured people get health care on their terms. One such example is the Urgent9 Urgent Care Clinic.
Urgent9 has an innovative plan where people can pay $499 for a week of care in their urgent care clinic. They call this their $499 Everything Healthy Plan. It provides a way to avoid paying thousands of dollars at the ER or even at other urgent care clinics. It includes ultrasounds, X-rays CT scans, IV fluids, basic blood tests, and simple medical procedures. It’s an innovative plan to help those without insurance pay for the health care they need. Moreover, it’s for anyone looking to rein in their care costs, including those with a high deductible insurance plan.
With premiums set to surge in 2017 and deductibles set to continue their increase, it’s going to take innovative solutions for uninsured people to get the health care they need. With innovative solutions like Urgent9’s Everything Health Plan, it won’t be surprising if people begin to voluntarily forgo expensive health plans and provide for their own health care needs.