Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Health Care Reforms, Out of Pocket Details, Show Dramatic Change From Status Quo

The following observation is not a criticism of the person included in this story, that person is actually trying to save families even more money, but it does demonstrate that we might be closer a lot closer to affordable health care than we might imagine. Oh god I hope. (see how desperate I am)

I might be missing something here, but I would jump at the “nightmare” scenario presented here in this Times article:

(As) lawmakers struggle to achieve the goal of universal coverage, a critical question is whether the plans will be affordable to those who are currently uninsured. After analyzing the leading House and Senate bills, Stephen E. Finan, a health economist at the cancer society, said, “Subsidies do not appear to be adequate even for coverage in the lowest-cost plans.”

“Under the bill approved by the Senate health committee,” Mr. Finan said, “a family with annual income of $40,000 could obtain subsidies, but would still have to pay premiums of $1,760 a year and might have to pay as much as $2,320 in co-payments and deductibles, for a total of $4,080, or 10 percent of family income. And they might have to pay more if they use specialists outside the network of doctors in their health plan.”

I’ll take it. Sounds a whole lot better than the $6,000 to $15,000 price tag now applied to all income ranges. Under the Senate bill, if you made $88,200 for a family of four you would be required to pay as much as 12.5 percent of its income in premiums, or $11,025. Under the House bill, 11 percent, or $9,702.

A family of four with income of $34,000 might pay 1 percent to 3 percent of its income in premiums. That comes out to either $340 or $1,020. Now that’s more like it. But…
But lawmakers said that federal aid for low-income families could be pared back as Congress struggles to hold down the overall cost of the legislation.
Holding down the overall cost really means shifting the burden on all American’s to the individual.

The House Blue Dog Coalition wants to limit who gets help to people with incomes over 300 percent of the poverty level, or $66,150 per family. The Senate health committee bill says “coverage is defined to be unaffordable if the premium paid by an individual is greater than 12.5 percent” of the person’s adjusted gross income.

The major bills moving through Congress would set annual limits on out-of-pocket spending for co-payments, deductibles and similar charges. The limits would be $5,000 for an individual and $10,000 for a family under the House bill, and $5,800 and $11,600 under the Senate health committee bill. Premiums are not counted against the limits.

Still, Ronald F. Pollack, executive director of Families USA, a liberal-leaning consumer group, said the proposed subsidies would “make health insurance significantly more affordable than it is today.”

Amen to that.

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