Another day, another “I told you so” for Longtime Sharp VodkaPundit Readers™ — this one in the New York Times:
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.”
In many states, more than half the plans offered for sale through HealthCare.gov, the federal online marketplace, have a deductible of $3,000 or more, a New York Times review has found. Those deductibles are causing concern among Democrats — and some Republican detractors of the health law, who once pushed high-deductible health plans in the belief that consumers would be more cost-conscious if they had more of a financial stake or skin in the game.
“We could not afford the deductible,” said Kevin Fanning, 59, who lives in North Texas, near Wichita Falls. “Basically I was paying for insurance I could not afford to use.”
He dropped his policy.
The deductibles and co-pays are in many cases cheaper than the penalty (“I swear it’s a tax!”) for noncompliance. Couple that with the requirement that insurers cover pre-existing conditions, and you have perverse incentive for healthy people not to sign up in the numbers needed to prevent a death spiral.
Of course, I’ve been pounding on this particular drum for nearly six years now, but it is refreshing, if belatedly so, to see the New York Times join my little drum circle.