For months, the White House has been touting what it says are the low premiums of medical insurance policies available in the insurance exchanges created by Obamacare. But what the White House isn’t saying is that the premiums are coming at the cost of higher deductibles and co-pays and reduced choice of doctors.
In fact, the Obama administration has been trying to conceal this reality. As Robert Pear of the New York Times reports:
Until now, it was almost impossible for people using the federal health care website to see the deductible amounts, which consumers pay before coverage kicks in. But federal officials finally relented last week and added a “window shopping” feature that displays data on deductibles.
The amount of one’s deductible is an essential feature of any insurance plan. Without knowing what the deductible is, one cannot meaningfully shop for true price. Obama’s attempt to withhold this highly material information was a desperate attempt to hide information that would cast Obamacare in a bad light and cause some consumers not to participate. It amounts to fraud.
The facts are, as Obama’s deception suggests, damning:
For policies offered in the federal exchange, as in many states, the annual deductible often tops $5,000 for an individual and $10,000 for a couple. . . .
In El Paso, Tex., for example, for a husband and wife both age 35, one of the cheapest plans on the federal exchange, offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield, has a premium less than $300 a month, but the annual deductible is more than $12,000. For a 45-year-old couple seeking insurance on the federal exchange in Saginaw, Mich., a policy with a premium of $515 a month has a deductible of $10,000.
Now that the administration is revealing deductibles on its website, sticker shock has kicked in. It will become more pronounced when employees lose, en masse, their employer-provided insurance plans. These plans typically are quite generous when it comes to deductibles. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average deductible in employer-sponsored health plans is $1,135.
Inflated deductibles aren’t the only means by which plans on the federal exchange have held premiums down. As Pear reminds us, they have also accomplished this “by limiting the choices of doctors and hospitals available to consumers in their provider networks.”
Thus, the next great lie of Obamacare — that if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor — will soon emerge in force.