Federally-mandated insurance for Americans was intended to help, but, unfortunately, it has done more harm than good – if a new poll is to be believed.
A survey conducted for Bankrate.com shows that 55% of Americans (out of the poll of 1,006 participants) are concerned that their medical costs will soon outweigh their annual income. Forty-four percent of low-income Americans (those that make less than $30,000 annually) say that their current medical debt already outweighs their income, and 25% of American surveyed say that their medical costs outweigh their emergency savings.
Fifty-five percent of Americans surveyed (ages 30 to 64) say that their main concern is that health insurance premiums will rise, and health insurance will no longer be as affordable in the next few years. Two-thirds of survey participants claim that their ability to afford health insurance has remained stable, while 14% have noticed an improved ability; 19% of Americans surveyed say that their ability to afford health insurance is worse now than it was a year ago.
Over half those surveyed said that their feelings about the Affordable Care Act have not changed from a year ago, and sixteen percent report that their feelings have gotten better. Unfortunately, twenty-eight percent report that they are more bitter about the Affordable Care Act than they have been in the past before the changes took place.
One reason related to bitterness regarding the Affordable Care Act pertains to insurance premiums and benefits. Some single adults in their late 20s and early to mid-30s have low insurance plans, but out-of-pocket deductibles are through the roof (at least $5,000-$6,000 out-of-pocket before insurance kicks in).
Take someone who is seeing a professional counselor for mental wellness (due to stress, grief over the death of a loved one, and so on). Even if the individual pays insurance (which could stretch to $160 monthly), the individual still owes $6,350 out-of-pocket before insurance will cover the remaining medical costs. In other words, the thirty-something who pays $160 a month (nearly $2,000 a year) still owes $6,350 on top of their health insurance premium – eliminating the need to even afford health insurance in the first place.
And, unfortunately, the Affordable Care Act has only proven affordable for a few, with others who cannot afford health insurance to struggle to pay it. It is also the case that for those who do not carry health insurance, they are subject to a tax penalty by the federal government – except in cases where the individual is not a tax liability or can demonstrate that he or she cannot afford health care.
Trying to afford health care and falling under the weight of it all can send the insured to counseling for help. Unfortunately, if counseling sessions require a hefty out-of-pocket bill that the insured cannot afford, there is no way to cope. How ironic is it that a bill, designed to help so many, has only added psychological damage?