Why Health Insurance Is Now A Far Bigger Nightmare Than It Ever Was

goodolddays

In the good old days health insurance was an irritant but not a nightmare. If you had high premiums, you had low deductibles.  And if you had high deductibles, you had low premiums.   Now we have high premiums and high deductibles.

Victor Lipman ,CONTRIBUTOR

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

In the good old days health insurance was an irritant but not a nightmare. If you had high premiums, you had low deductibles.  And if you had high deductibles, you had low premiums.   Now we have high premiums and high deductibles.  Sweet deal.

OK, I admit it, I’m a lapsed ObamaCare supporter.  I thought we could engineer a solution… I thought the very real issue of the low-income uninsured was a readily fixable problem.  Boy, was I wrong.

Lets start with a quick look at a few numbers and we’ll see why.  I’m not going to embarrass individual health insurance companies by naming them.  They should already all be equally embarrassed.

In my neck of the woods (Colorado), if you’re a married couple, say, in your early 60s, and your annual income is anything above $62,000, you can get health insurance for as “low” as $1,655 a month, with deductibles of $5,000 per person and out of pocket maximums (basically just deductibles by another name) 0f $6,850 per person.  In other words, if your income is $63,000 and you’re unfortunate enough to max out your “out of pockets” ($6850 x 2 = $13,700),  and combine that with your premiums ($1,655 x 12 = $19,860), you could wind up paying $33,560 of your $63,000 income on health insurance.  Nice product.  And this is the low cost option.  Please.  Dear lord.  Does this seem even remotely reasonable?  Is anyone out there listening?  (Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?)

Pity the poor consumer – So I spoke with a number people selling health insurance during the current open enrollment period because I was curious to hear how consumers were responding to these bizarre excuses for health insurance products.  Not surprisingly, reaction breaks down clearly into two camps, depending on which side of the federal subsidy one falls.  If income is low enough to qualify for a subsidy, people are pleased by the affordability.  If they don’t qualify for a subsidy, however, a sampling of reactions is as follows:

“Yikes!”

“Sticker shock.”

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