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Report: 1 in 4 Adults with Insurance Still Can't Afford Health Care

One in four adults with health insurance can't afford to use it due to the fees associated with the plans, according to a new report. Credit: iamnotpablo/morguefile.com
One in four adults with health insurance can't afford to use it due to the fees associated with the plans, according to a new report. Credit: iamnotpablo/morguefile.com
May 18, 2015

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Today, more Missourians than ever have health insurance as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

But a new report finds many are still passing up routine medical care because they say they can't afford to use their plans.

Ron Pollack is executive director of Families USA, the nonprofit advocacy group that compiled the report. He says deductibles of $1,500 per year or more are often to blame.

"Over one-quarter, 25.2 percent of the adults who had year-round, non-group health insurance, went without medical care because they couldn't afford that care," he points out.

The report recommends that more insurers look for ways to redesign their so-called silver plans, which are aimed at low- to middle income consumers, to allow lower out-of-pocket expenses for routine doctor's visits, prescriptions and basic lab work.

Lydia Mitts, a report coauthor, says states can go one step further toward ensuring that more people can afford the basic care they need, which she says will help avoid more serious health problems and more expensive health care costs down the road.

"State policymakers could require that every insurer in their state offer at least one silver plan that covers basic outpatient services and prescription drugs before the deductible is paid," she states.

While some within the insurance industry say it would be too costly, Mitts argues it's already being done. Six state-based health insurance marketplaces offer silver plans that cover primary care visits, specialists, test and lab works, plus prescriptions and other outpatient services, with a low co-pay.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MO