The New Conversation on Affordability and Underinsurance

Just like spring, a new public conversation is busting out across the nation and the topic is health insurance and health care affordability for patients and consumers. The conversation is taking different forms and is beginning to trigger policy proposals. More will come – and when it does, this conversation may well become a charged debate.

Here are two important streams in this conversation:

Cost Sharing: The first stream involves the growth of deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance, especially deductibles, aimed at consumers. This past week, the Commonwealth Fund released a new Issue Brief showing that 23% of adults with health insurance, 31 million, had “such high out-of-pocket costs or deductibles relative to their incomes that they were underinsured.” About 11% of privately insured adults have policy deductibles of $3,000 or more, up from 1% in 2003. Half of these underinsured (51%) “reported problems with medical bills or debt and more than two of five (44%) reported not getting needed care because of cost.” Fully 41% of adults with high deductibles had debt loads of $4,000 or more.  Fully 75% of all consumers now have deductibles on their policies — so if you’re part of the remaining 25%, be grateful! Continue reading “The New Conversation on Affordability and Underinsurance”