The Affordable Care Act guarantees that no one can be denied health insurance for pre-existing conditions but it may mean that coverage is not affordable. It is estimated that a family of four earning $75,000 will pay $7,125 in annual premiums and as much as $8,333 in co-pays and deductibles, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. A single 40-year-old earning $30,000 will pay $2,509 in premiums and as much as $3,125 in cost sharing.
These costs will come even as the government spends $1.6 trillion over the nest decade to expand coverage to 30 million uninsured people.
For years health care providers have “cost shifted” to cover expenses. Services like Medicaid and services provided to the uninsured do not cover costs so prices have escalated over time so that private insurances pick up the tab for those who are not able to pay. The Affordable Care Act limits federal aid to the uninsured and the individual mandate was thrown out by the Supreme Court so there may continue to be a large portion of the population uninsured because they can’t afford the cost of insurance.
Cost shifting will likely continue and could continue to drive up the price of insurance which means insurance, even though available, could continue to be unaffordable for many.
The word “affordable” in the Affordable Care Act is open to interpretation.