High-Deductible Health Insurance Plans Costing Families More and More

By Consumers For Quality Care, on February 8, 2023

High-Deductible Health Insurance Plans Costing Families More and More

High-deductible health insurance plans are forcing many Americans to pay out thousands of dollars for medical services and devices before their health insurance plan will begin covering these expenses, according to NBC News.

Massachusetts resident Meghan Neri was shocked to learn that the packages of epinephrine auto-injectors for her two children with food allergies would cost her $2,400 per year instead of the usual $120 she paid the year prior.

The price of the epinephrine shots themselves had not increased. Rather, the problem was that Neri had switched to a new, high-deductible health insurance plan. Although monthly premiums are typically lower for these plans, consumers often find themselves paying hundreds or thousands of dollars before the plan starts to kick in.

These changes sometimes lead consumers to forego the medical care and treatment they need, often risking their health and life as a result. “Many families have opted not to pick up their EpiPens because they can’t afford it,” said Dr. Purvi Parikh of NYU Langone Health. “They’re taking the chance that, God forbid, a bad outcome will occur.”

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 17 percent of consumers in 2009 were enrolled in a plan with an annual deductible of at least $1,000. By 2021, it was 50 percent, and with some family plans, deductibles can soar well over $3,000.

“What it means is that even when you’re insured, you may not actually be protected from potentially catastrophic health care costs,” said Larry Levitt, Executive Vice President of KFF.

CQC urges lawmakers and insurers to find solutions to make sure that insurance acts like insurance and develop solutions to protect consumers from going into medical debt for seeking the care they need.