Thursday, July 13, 2017

Making Health Insurance Unaffordable

How much would essential health benefits cost if they were no longer required, as they currently are under the Affordable Care Act, and only those who opted for the service financed the cost? An Urban Institute study has calculated the cost, and it's steep.

The average nongroup marketplace premium was $4,700 in 2017, reports the Urban Institute. But start cherry-picking benefits, and premiums will be much higher. Take maternity care for example. Maternity care accounts for just $278 of the $4,700 annual cost of a typical health insurance plan—not all that much. But if health insurance buyers could opt out of maternity care benefits so that only those who needed maternity care had to pay for it, then those who chose maternity care would see their annual health insurance premium rise by $13,388.

Cherry picking health benefits will greatly increase the cost of health insurance for those who need essential services...

Additional health insurance premium cost if only users finance the service
Inpatient care: $19,071
Maternity care: $13,388
Outpatient care: $5,755
Emergency care: $4,251
Rehabilitative care: $2,247
Office-based care: $1,947
Prescription drugs: $1,836

Source: Urban Institute, The Implications of Cutting Essential Health Benefits: An Analysis of Nongroup Insurance Premiums Under the ACA

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