(NationalSentinel) President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama flew out of Washington, D.C., on Friday following the inauguration of Donald Trump as America’s 45th president. But the outgoing administration left the American people a “gift” that will keep on taking unless Congress and the new president make good on a major campaign promise–repealing and replacing Obamacare.
Already-high monthly health insurance premiums and other out-of-pocket expenses are set to explode this year–as high as 20 percent, on average–which will make health care coverage simply unaffordable for an even larger segment of the population.
The average deductible for a silver plan through the Affordable Care Act, one of the law’s most popular health insurance plans, is projected to jump 20 percent to $3,703, according to a report from Avalere Health.
Rep. Tom Price (R., Ga.), the nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, said at his confirmation hearing that while many individuals have coverage through Obamacare, some of them are not getting the care they need because they cannot afford their deductible.
“I get calls almost weekly from my former fellow physicians who tell me that their patients are making decisions about not getting the care that they need because they can’t afford the deductible,” Price said.
“If you are an individual making $40,000 and $50,000 per year, and your deductible is $6,000 or $12,000 for a family—which is not unusual on the exchanges—you may have an insurance card, it might have a wonderful name of an insurance company, but you can’t have the care because you can’t afford the deductible,” he said. “People are denying themselves the care that they need.”
Here are some of the other ways out-of-pocket expenses are going to rise in 2017:
On average, co-insurance for specialty drugs on silver plans is set to increase from 34 percent to 37 percent. More silver plans will charge co-insurance for specialty drugs as well. In 2017, 84 percent of silver plans will charge for the drugs, up from 74 percent in 2016.
Half of silver plans will charge more than 30 percent co-insurance for specialty drugs, compared to 36 percent of silver plans in 2016.
In addition to higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs, the Obamacare exchanges will offer fewer preferred provider organizations, which offer a wider network of providers and cover more out-of-network services.
In 2014, 52 percent of plans on the Obamacare exchanges were by preferred provider organizations. In 2017, that number is projected to decline to 31 percent.
Premiums are set to increase by 25 percent in 2017. The number of insurers participating on the exchanges is set to decline.
President Trump was expected to take some executive actions very soon to roll back some provisions of the ‘Affordable’ Care Act, but he will need Congress to send him legislation in order to completely repeal the law and replace it with free-market-oriented solutions that emphasize quality of product and competition over top-down government mandates that obviously have not worked as advertised.