By Laurie Heavey, VP Marketing
March 23, 2020, marks 10 years since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law. Public opinion still is divided about the ACA’s results toward true healthcare reform. In fact, during the past decade, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) has conducted 102 public opinion polls that show many views on healthcare reform have remained the same, including concerns regarding the cost of healthcare. Even so, the ACA and the healthcare exchanges have been the standard to provide some relief for previously uninsured patients for the past 10 years.
We can all agree that what has come to pass with the ACA is the need for financing to help patients cover their out-of-pocket medical costs. There’s no doubt that the ACA and exchanges spurred the growth of high deductible health plans (HDHPs), which spilled over to employer-based insurance coverage. HDHPs with annual deductibles ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 have become commonplace since the enactment of the ACA as consumers look for ways to reduce their monthly premiums. According to Kaiser’s 2019 Employer Benefits Annual Survey, annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage reached $20,576, up 5% from 2018, with workers on average paying $6,015 toward the cost of their coverage.
Today, the priority remains focused on affordable care — reducing overall healthcare costs, protecting patients as best possible from unexpected medical bills and offering financial options to help them manage their out-of-pocket costs. An October 2019 Survey of America’s Patients reveals that 73% of Americans are concerned about their ability to pay for medical treatment if they were to get sick or injured and half of Americans say they are one sickness away from being in serious financial trouble. Now, amid the COVID-19 crisis, Americans need to know exactly how they will be covered by the ACA’s essential health benefits, along with other options for financial relief.
Finally, a 2019 Gallup poll affirms that Americans are more likely to name healthcare costs as the most important financial problem facing their family. No doubt healthcare costs will continue to influence public opinion of the ACA — and any other health policy proposals that come to fruition. During this unprecedented time of uncertainty and previously unimaginable need for medical care on a global scale, we as a healthcare community must do our part to assure patients of affordable care. At ClearBalance® HealthCare, we stand ready to help people when it matters most by working with providers as we offer zero-interest financing options that ease the cost burden for patients – throughout 2020 and beyond.