Image 01 Image 03

High Deductibles Force Many to Opt Out of Obamacare

High Deductibles Force Many to Opt Out of Obamacare

Obamacare is “really just a catastrophic policy” – but more expensive

As ObamaCare co-ops close and people lose ObamaCare subsidies while getting hit with sky-rocketing premiums, the New York Times has noticed that the deductibles associated with ObamaCare make the plans useless to many people.

The NYT reports:

Obama administration officials, urging people to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, have trumpeted the low premiums available on the law’s new marketplaces.

But for many consumers, the sticker shock is coming not on the front end, when they purchase the plans, but on the back end when they get sick: sky-high deductibles that are leaving some newly insured feeling nearly as vulnerable as they were before they had coverage.

“The deductible, $3,000 a year, makes it impossible to actually go to the doctor,” said David R. Reines, 60, of Jefferson Township, N.J., a former hardware salesman with chronic knee pain. “We have insurance, but can’t afford to use it.”

While we’ve been told that ObamaCare will slow the increase in the cost of health insurance, we can now see that the slowed increase is due to the decrease in the number of people who can afford to see a doctor.  Because of the high deductibles, many people are choosing not to purchase health insurance at all.


The NYT continues:

Alexis C. Phillips, 29, of Houston, is the kind of consumer federal officials would like to enroll this fall. But after reviewing the available plans, she said, she concluded: “The deductibles are ridiculously high. I will never be able to go over the deductible unless something catastrophic happened to me. I’m better off not purchasing that insurance and saving the money in case something bad happens.”

. . . .  Mr. Fanning, the North Texan, said he and his wife had a policy with a monthly premium of about $500 and an annual deductible of about $10,000 after taking account of financial assistance. Their income is about $32,000 a year.

The Fannings dropped the policy in July after he had a one-night hospital stay and she had tests for kidney problems, and the bills started to roll in.

Josie Gibb of Albuquerque pays about $400 a month in premiums, after subsidies, for a silver-level insurance plan with a deductible of $6,000. “The deductible,” she said, “is so high that I have to pay for everything all year — visits with a gynecologist, a dermatologist, all blood work, all tests. ”

Those who choose not to carry health insurance will be receiving a nifty letter from the IRS about their “shared responsibility” payment.  Even with that figured in, many consumers feel they are better off without health insurance because, in the words of Josie Gibb, “it’s really just a catastrophic policy.”

Watch this report on people who elect to pay the ObamaCare penalty (or tax):

As more and more people determine that it’s not in their financial interest to pay soaring premiums for insurance they can’t afford to use because of high deductibles, premiums and deductibles will continue to rise to make up for those dropping out of the health insurance market . . . and around it goes again.

The result is likely be a flood of middle class people in our nation’s emergency rooms.  USA Today reports that “many doctors contend it’s only a matter of time before the middle class begins crowding ERs. They say putting off care can be dangerous, exponentially more costly and, if it continues and spreads, can threaten the health of the nation.”


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.



I’ve said that from the outset.

It was never about health care….just crappy major medical insurance.

Capitalists entice you to do something.
Fascists* coerce you to do something.

Liberals are clearly fascists. You can own a few things, but they get to tell you what to do or not do with them, how to think and how to act. Totalitarian is their nature.

    nordic_prince in reply to profshadow. | November 15, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    “Fascists* coerce you to do something.”

    You forgot to add “…while they screw you over.”

    Liberals are NOT fascists. It is not liberals that are leading this charge, but progressives, who are illiberal.

      Sorry. Every liberal I know supported the ObamaCare mandate.
      They are fascists.

        Silly criteria to overgeneralize about what makes one a liberal.

        If you think that supporting Obamacare itself makes one a fascist, it reinforces the demonization that is prevalent these days.

          Abolishing the functional, affordable health insurance that people used to buy for themselves, and requiring them instead to purchase the unaffordable, inferior, unsuitable policies that insurers are coerced to sell, certainly borders on the definition of “fascism,” which is a system in which the state commandeers businesses for its own purposes, thus severely restricting the choices of both the businesses and the customers.

          Most of the people who call themselves “liberal” in the U.S. today actually support heavy-handed state control of enterprise (unless perhaps it’s their own personal enterprise). I.e., they favor a fascistic style of interface between the government and the economy.

          Pointing this out is not “demonization.” It’s description.

          You have liberal and libertarian confused.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to profshadow. | November 16, 2015 at 10:15 am

    I think that Obama Care was designed to get those who had insurance to bankroll insurance for those who did not, a gimmick to get all of us to pay for inner city non working trash.

HSAs w/o medical insurance overhead costs (aka, middlemen) would be be the best way to go.

Sammy Finkelman | November 15, 2015 at 3:57 pm

the deductibles associated with ObamaCare make the plans useless to many people.

This was obvious from the get-go.

You can have high premiums and a low deductible. And you have low premiums and high deductible. The planners of Obamacare thought a policy with both a high premium and a high deductible would be OK. (and they are high – only maybe they have such high incomes, or government paid insurance that they don’t realize it)

And then, there’s this stupidity:

In addition, people with particularly low incomes can obtain discounts known as cost-sharing reductions, which lower their deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs if they choose midlevel silver plans. Consumer advocates say this assistance makes insurance a good bargain for people with annual incomes from 100 percent to 250 percent of the poverty level ($11,770 to $29,425 for an individual).

Government planners treat people’s incomes as if they were both knowable, and stable. That’s how people in Congress and soe economists talk.

The subsidy is all supposed to be re-calculated when people file their income tax returns.

Sammy Finkelman | November 15, 2015 at 4:02 pm

For more about the perverse effects created by means testing, where more income means less, see this:

Mr. Jones, in contrast, falls into what has been called a doughnut hole: He earns too much money to be eligible for most government subsidies, but not enough to pay for the services that would make his old age comfortable. Though he pays only $300 a month for a rent-controlled apartment in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the building has no elevator and the low rent has become a trap. Mr. Jones had parts of two toes amputated this summer, making the 36 stairs to his third-floor apartment a grueling test. Cleaning and cooking are almost beyond him; on my last visit, I changed two light bulbs for him because he could not get up on a ladder.
Mr. Jones could afford to pay somewhat more in rent. But rents in his neighborhood have risen sharply, to an average of $1,991 for a one-bedroom apartment, according to the Brooklyn real estate brokerage MNS. Walk-ups in the building next door were recently advertised for $1,500 a month. And hiring a home attendant for even a couple of hours a day would eat up a third of his income. For now, he said recently, after a long and slow ascent up the stairs, he is stuck.


One result has been to drive relatively healthy people into nursing homes, where Medicaid picks up the tab for eligible seniors, said Daniel Reingold, president and chief executive of the nonprofit RiverSpring Health, which operates the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in the Bronx.

“You have people in our facility, you say, why are they here?” Mr. Reingold said. “They seem to be in good shape. They lived in a three-story walk-up, or they outlived their money. They’re coming to a nursing home because they can’t afford their housing or there is no available housing.”

Sammy Finkelman | November 15, 2015 at 4:11 pm

Hillary Clinton last night said an amazing, or peculiar, thing.

Her objection, it seems, to “Repeal and Replace” is that it would cause political arguments!

She did not accuse Republicans of trying to put people back into a bad situation, but rather, of trying to start all over again, and re-start a debate that had been going on for 60 years. That’s all.

She also claimed she welcomes a debate with Senator Sanders.

Debates are OK as long as they are not with Republicans?

And repealing and replacing Obamacare is OK as long as you don’t say that’s what you are doing.

She said Sanders would repeal Obamacare – she wants to improve it. She says the PPACA was a great accomplishment. This issue should not be an argument among Democrats. Republicans want to undermine it and repeal it.

So what you have is that nobody is for continuing the present system, except that Hillary wants to lie about changing it.

Sanders had said he wants Medicare for all and that health care should be regarded as a right. Hillary got asked by John Dickerson what about her saying in 1994 that she wanted single payer and saw a revolution coming. She says the revolution never came. She said Sanders would wrap everything up – Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare etc. – in a new system that he would have the states running – if she lived in Iowa she wouldn’t want Governor Terry Brandstead in charge of her health care. ???

Sanders said he wants to make it clear he does not destroy Medicare – he expands it. Sanders said what’s bad with the current system is that in some Republican states like South Carolina millions have people have been denied the expansion of Medicaid that Congress provided for.

I think what aggravates me the most – barely beating out the stupid rollover coupon ad that kept blocking your post – is that the people responsible for this will not only escape blame, they will find a way to blame conservatives and then move on to selling their next batch of snake oil.

You think it matters that we can prove this was a disastrous mistake?

    ijustwanttovote in reply to Fen. | November 15, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    Adblockers are your friend. If you use them, however, please be sure to financially support the websites that you enjoy. I use adblockers everywhere, and I subscribe (montly) to websites that I visit everyday, like Legal Insurrection.

JackRussellTerrierist | November 15, 2015 at 4:31 pm

This was never designed to help anybody. The stupid Americans who voted for the people who devised this were caught admitting they (correctly) believed we, the people, are too stupid to NOT let them get away with it.

Just one more thing to thank a Democrat voter for. I hope they all lose their insurance and drop dead on the hospital steps.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to JackRussellTerrierist. | November 15, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    Heh. Let me try that again: The stupid Americans who voted for the people who devised this are responsible for this. They are the “stupid Americans” those obastardcare lawmakers spoke of as a necessity in getting the program at all and being done the way it was.

    I guess the lawmakers concluded, perfectly logically, that if those voters were stupid enough to vote for THEM, they are stupid enough to swallow the entire legislation.

Thanks, Obama, Pelosi and Reid for forcing me to buy what is essentially a catastrophic plan for 4 times the price with lower benefits.

    amwick in reply to Sanddog. | November 15, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    What really pissed me off was the metal plans did not include office visits with a co pay. Nope, you had to pay for a sore throat or ear ache until you met the $6000 deductible. Same for Rx… So basically it was all catastrophic, not the insurance, OBAMACARE! But this horse left the barn, hell, it left the planet and can never be undone.

It was never supposed to work. It was supposed to trash the system by which we fund healthcare. To create a crisis. To justify the government takeover of the whole healthcare system.

It was just supposed to take a bit longer to collapse.

    Radegunda in reply to clintack. | November 15, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    One of the law’s promoters is on tape saying, approximately, “Some people call this bill a Trojan horse for single-payer. That’s incorrect. This isn’t a Trojan horse — it’s out in plain sight.”

This is what happens when legacy is more important than the substance of what you are doing.

I watched some of the Dimmi debate last night and one of the funniest claims made by hillary was that she was for allowing Medicare to “Negotiate” with big pharma for the price they pay for drugs. Well guess what? obama gave that away when he got big pharma to cough up 80 billion dollars so that they would support obamacare. Leftists are such liars that it is hard to tell when they are telling the truth. My son had the bronze plan which was nothing but a catastrophic medical plan and nothing more. It covered nothing until he exceeded $6500. That’s not health insurance.

This is insanity. Simply repeal that stupid, fascist law.

In my immediate area we have a CVS which offers simple medical services for a fee and an urgent care facility which is kinda like a hospital emergency room but is stand alone. People who opt out of Obamacare may find these facilities useful. There’s also concierge medicine for those who can afford it.

Oh, so now it is a surprise that the ACA was not what people thought it would be after arguing that a gov plan would work wonders. People were warned and they argued that the warnings weren’t true. Then along come reality.

NC Mountain Girl | November 16, 2015 at 9:38 am

There is a silver lining in this. The high deductibles have forced the actual health care providers to become aware of costs. Before Obamacare kicked in, when I asked a physician if there was a lower cost alternative, the response was often a blank stare. Today my doctors have been volunteering ways to reduce costs. This is because their middle class patients have been asking a lot more questions about both what is on the bill and whether everything being done is truly necessary.

Note that I haven’t had health insurance since my COBRA coverage ran out twelve years ago. Even though I have medical issues, I am still ahead financially. I budget for my needs, I ruthlessly price shop and I Google every abbreviation on all my medical bill to see what I am being charged for before I pay. The mistake rates on bills can be high.

Then there is the expensive tendency to over test. Back in 2010 one doctor ran three separate diagnostic tests that basically measured the same thing, just to be absolutely sure. I refused to pay for two of them. I know my statistics and the concept of marginal costs. 98% certainty is good enough for me if 100% is going to coast three times as much. Today the tendency to over test had been reduced because more patients are asking better questions.