Health Reforms Will Eliminate Affordable Health Plan Options Used by Millions

(DALLAS) -  Millions of Americans using lower cost health plans will be required to pay more, as will many employers, under requirements in the new health care reform law.  A new analysis from the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) shows minimum wage and low income workers will face the greatest risks with those changes.

"For most people under the age 50, yearly health care expenses rarely exceed $3,000 and many of those  choose lower cost insurance options such as limited benefits plans or high deductible plans," said NCPA Senior Fellow Devon Herrick. "Health reform requirements under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will eliminate the limited benefit or "mini-med" plans and severely limit the high deductible plans."

Herrick, the author of Affordable Health Plans Are an Endangered Species, recently testified before Congress on this issue.

"After the individual mandate goes into effect on January 1, 2014, the ACA limits the deductibles of most policies sold to no more than $5,950 per individual or $11,900 per family (adjusted annually for inflation).  Health plans must also provide a costly essential benefit package that covers preventive services with no cost sharing," said Herrick.

Herrick said that this will ultimately cost jobs because health benefits are merely part of their employees' total compensation package.  "As premiums climb, employers will have to absorb or pass on the costs to workers and many workers will face lower wages or become too expensive to employ."

"It's important to note that insurance that features limited benefits in return for a lower premium is not for everyone," added Herrick.  "Indeed, limited-benefit plans are not intended to cover the costs of catastrophic illness.  By contrast, high-deductible coverage only protects against a catastrophic illness and is not intended to pay day-to-day medical bills.  But these plans are more affordable for many Americans and provide a level of benefits many Americans find sufficient."

Please contact Catherine Daniell to schedule an interview with Devon Herrick.