Shared Sacrifice? 1 In 3 Americans Slash Staples Spending To 'Afford' Obamacare

Tyler Durden's picture

Health insurers are in panic mode as the Obama administration, ever eager maximize coverage optics for Obamacare, has, as The NY Times reports, allowed large numbers of people to sign up for insurance after the deadlines in the last two years, destabilizing insurance markets and driving up premiums. This surge in costs, from unintended consequences, has left 1 in 5 Americans with health insurance is having problems paying medical bills; and, as a new poll finds, more than one in three Americans, or 35 percent, said they were unable to pay for basic necessities such as food, heat, and housing because of medical bill problems...

Among people with health insurance, one in five (20%) working-age Americans report having problems paying medical bills in the past year that often cause serious financial challenges and changes in employment and lifestyle, finds a comprehensive new Kaiser Family Foundation/New York Times survey. As expected, the situation is even worse among people who are uninsured: half (53%) face problems with medical bills, bringing the overall total to 26 percent.

 

While insurance can protect people from problem medical bills, the survey suggests that those with employer coverage or other insurance suffer similar consequences as the uninsured once such problems occur. Among those facing problems with medical bills, almost identical shares of the insured (44%) and uninsured (45%) say the bills had a major impact on their families.

 

People with insurance who face problem medical bills also report a wide range of consequences and sacrifices during the past year as a result, including delaying vacations or major household purchases (77%), spending less on food, clothing and basic household items (75%), using up most or all their savings (63%), taking an extra job or working more hours (42%), increasing their credit card debt (38%), borrowing money from family or friends (37%), changing their living situation (14%), and seeking the aid of a charity (11%). These shares generally are as large as or larger than the shares among uninsured people with problem medical bills.

 

 

Overall, 62 percent of those who had medical bill problems say the bills were incurred by someone who had health coverage at the time (most often through an employer). Of those who were insured when the bills were incurred, three-quarters  (75%) say that the amount they had to pay for their insurance copays, deductibles, or coinsurance was more than they could afford.

And it is not about to get better any time soon, as The NY Times reports, it appears the liberal-leaning establishment will never learn the real "unintended consequences" of tinkering central-planning...

The administration has created more than 30 “special enrollment” categories and sent emails to millions of Americans last year urging them to see if they might be able to sign up after the annual open enrollment deadline. But, insurers and state officials said, the federal government did little to verify whether late arrivals were eligible.

 

That has allowed people to wait until they become ill or need medical services to sign up, driving up costs broadly, insurers have told federal health officials.

 

“Individuals enrolled through special enrollment periods are utilizing up to 55 percent more services than their open enrollment counterparts” who sign up in the regular period, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, whose local member companies operate in every state, told the administration.

Of course, Enroll America, a nonprofit group with close ties to the Obama administration, said the government “should not tighten eligibility or verification standards in ways that could place an undue burden on consumers.”

Because - "it's fair..." - though The Iron Lady had it right...