Most states are close to, or have already finalized, their health insurance rates for 2018. This includes everything from Obamacare policies, or the Affordable Health Care Act, to more employer tailored insurance policies, which of course the vast majority of Americans are covered by. The big question is will the trend of increasing out of pocket deductibles continue?
Last year the average health insurance deductible exceeded $6000 per enrollee. That was the first year ever that an Obamacare policy crossed that threshold. So what should a family expect for 2018? While time will tell, for the over 10 million Americans that depend on an ACA policy for their needs, they should plan for the worst in the form of higher out of pocket costs, but yet hope for the best.
First of all, for those who do not know, a deductible is how much the individual needs to pay of their own money, out of pocket, before the insurance provider picks up the tab. For example, if you have a policy with a $5000 deductible, this means you will need to pay the first $5000 towards your medical bills.
At the end of the day a deductible is all out of pocket cash that you need to pay. For many families, whether they are low income or even doing fairly well, that type of expense can be very challenging for many people.
As the 2018 Obamacare policies are finalized by state regulators, you should plan on the costs to continue to go up. Premiums may increase anywhere from 5 to even 50%, with the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) projecting the average increase in premiums will be over 15 percent for calendar year 2018. Health insurance deductibles for Obamacare policies will also be increasing at rapid rates, so plan on paying more money out of pocket. Start to save and budget now, before January 1, 2018 rolls around.
How to get help for paying 2018 ACA deductibles?
Very low-income households, as well as people living in or near poverty levels, may be able to qualify for a government subsidy at some point during 2018. If your total household income is around $33,000 (or less), then the federal government provides financial assistance as part of the Affordable Care Act to pay for some or all of your deductible. However, this will be depend on the federal government approving the subsidies, which are currently up in the air as Republicans say they are illegal. So you should not plan on doing that.
Another option to pay a health insurance deductible is to consider the various non-profit as well as state assistance programs that may be in effect for 2018. Or there are also steps that families can take on their own. While the total out of pocket cost that someone is responsible for will more than likely be over $6000 for 2018, there may be a few things to do to better control that cost, and find information on assistance with health insurance deductibles.
Yet another option to offset the 2018 Obamacare costs is to consider more non-standard approaches to paying medical bills. Those options range from using a clinic (which may not even take insurance thereby not go towards a deductible) to insurance policies for Christians, uninsured medical care from the state, and much more. There are a while host low cost health insurance policies of these which may be in effect for 2018, and each of them can help you control your deductible expense in some way.
No matter what you do then, if you are on an Obamacare policy for 2018 (or are considering one) plan on paying more for both your monthly premium and deductible. As we noted, the average cost was over $6000 last year, so that will be the baseline for 2018. Just to be safe, plan on paying in the mid 6 figures for the upcoming year for a deductible before your insurance plan kicks in to assist.