Report: Obamacare Customers in for Deductible Sticker Shock

A new report finds that Obamacare customers are in for sticker shock because, unlike many employer-sponsored insurance plans, the fine print in many Obamacare policies requires patients to meet their deductible before lower-cost prescription drug co-pays kick in. 

That means hefty out-of-pocket expenses for Obamacare plan holders, especially since Obamacare deductibles are "relatively high" as compared to employer-sponsored insurance plans.  

The report, which was conducted by the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and Breakaway Policy, concludes that even Obamacare customers who receive taxpayer-funded subsidies will "find it difficult to afford the amounts they will have to pay out-of-pocket before their Exchange plans begin to pay benefits." 

The study found that so-called "combined deductible" plans account for roughly half of the 1,208 Silver Obamacare plans analyzed and average $2,267 for a 27-year-old single person. That means that individual would have to pay full price on prescription drugs until he or she met the $2,267 deductible. 

"Deductibles under Exchange plans are being applied to products and services not generally subject to the deductible in [employer sponsored insurance] plans," said the report. "This could further complicate enrollees' task of evaluating plans' cost sharing provisions, as they will not only have to consider the amount of deductibles but also the way they are applied."

Further exacerbating Obamacare deductible sticker shock is the fact that, according to the Journal of Health Economics, just 14% of people with health insurance know what basic terms like "deductible" and "co-pay" even mean.

The most recent Pew Research/USA Today poll finds Obamacare's approval rating at an all-time low of just 41%.


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