January 3, 2015

WHICH IS WHY HEALTH CARE COSTS ARE FINALLY UNDER CONTROL:

Dilemma over deductibles: Costs crippling middle class : RATHER THAN PAY SO MUCH OUT-OF-POCKET, MANY SKIP CHECKUPS, SCRIMP ON CARE (Laura Ungar and Jayne O'Donnell, 1/01/15, USA TODAY)

Physician Praveen Arla is witnessing a reversal of health care fortunes: Poor, long-uninsured patients are getting Medicaid through Obamacare and finally coming to his office for care. But middle-class workers are increasingly staying away.

"It's flip-flopped," says Arla, who helps his father run a family practice in Hillview, Ky. Patients with job-based plans, he says, will say: " 'My deductible is so high. I'm trying to come to the doctor as little as possible. ... What is the minimum I can get done?' They're really worried about cost."

It's a deep and common concern across the USA, where employer plans cover 60% of working-age Americans, or about 150 million people. Coverage long considered the gold standard of health insurance now often requires workers to pay so much out-of-pocket that many feel they must skip doctor visits, put off medical procedures, avoid filling prescriptions and ration pills -- much as the uninsured have done.

Republican reforms of Obamacare will shift more of the burden to consumers' pockets, which is how you prevent such wasteful consumption.

Posted by at January 3, 2015 10:18 AM
  

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