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3 Ways Congress Misled Us with the ‘Affordable’ Care Act

Years after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law — the Obama administration’s solution for making health care more affordable and accessible to all Americans — millions of Americans are still under-insured or paying hundreds of dollars in premiums and out of pocket costs just to receive healthcare services. Many are declaring bankruptcy because they can’t even afford the deductible when they end up in the hospital.

Here are three ways Congress misled us with the ‘Affordable’ Care Act:

Affordable Care Act banner

#1: Premiums Are Very Expensive – And Going Up

stack on money on medical charts with a stethoscope

Before the ACA, most Americans received health insurance coverage through their employer and were free to shop around for affordable health coverage. They qualified for lower premiums if they were in good health, didn’t smoke, and were younger. Today, everyone pays the same premiums regardless of their health status.

Even worse, older Americans pay almost 2.5 times as much for the same premium as millennials. HealthPocket.com reveals the average monthly premium for an individual 30-year-old applicant buying a Gold plan in 2016 is $380.98 per month. the monthly premium for a 60-year-old applicant is $909.22 per month. This makes healthcare more expensive for older Americans — in many cases, the population that needs affordable healthcare the most.

#2: Almost 50% of Americans Don’t Even Know About Open Enrollment

young woman with her hands up in question

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, nearly 50 percent of Americans didn’t even know there was a penalty for missing open enrollment. Open enrollment is the period of time where health insurance companies are required to accept all applicants regardless of their health history. Those who miss open enrollment and live without an ACA-approved health insurance are subject to an ACA penalty. That penalty is 2.5 percent of adjusted gross income or $695 per adult and $347.50 per child under 18 in 2016, whichever is higher. Obamacare hasn’t taken the right steps to educate Americans about the consequences of missing open enrollment. Nor has it made it easy for Americans to get the healthcare coverage they need any time of year.

#3: High-Deductible Plans Are Becoming Unaffordable

man hands over a lot of cash to doctor

Obamacare Bronze plans, chosen by nearly 21 percent of individuals in 2015, have the lowest premium. Consequently, they have the highest out-of-pocket costs. The average $6,850 deductible for individuals on a Bronze plan may not be easy to cover in the event of a medical emergency. Many Americans with a Bronze plan may need to turn to credit cards, loans, or even withdraw from a 401(k) to pay the deductible. Or, they must decide to carry medical debt. The upcoming Obamacare rate hikes in 2017 will make it even more difficult to keep up with healthcare costs.

The ACA was designed to help all Americans have access to healthcare and lower costs. But, many Americans are unable to enjoy even some of these benefits. Fortunately, there are private plans available for those who want some peace of mind that they will not be left financially devastated in the event of a medical emergency.

Short Term Medical Insurance and Medical Cash Benefits Plans provide guaranteed benefits for a fraction of the cost of ACA plans. At the very least, these plans can cover a high deductible. These are not ACA-approved so you will be paying the ACA tax penalty if these are your only plans. Still, they can provide significant financial benefits in the event of a medical emergency.