(NationalSentinel) President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama flew out of Washington, D.C., on Friday following the inauguration of Donald Trump as America’s 45th president. But the outgoing administration left the American people a “gift” that will keep on taking unless Congress and the new president make good on a major campaign promise–repealing and replacing Obamacare.
Already-high monthly health insurance premiums and other out-of-pocket expenses are set to explode this year–as high as 20 percent, on average–which will make health care coverage simply unaffordable for an even larger segment of the population.
The average deductible for a silver plan through the Affordable Care Act, one of the lawâ€™s most popular health insurance plans, is projected to jump 20 percent to $3,703, according to aÂ reportÂ from Avalere Health.
Rep. Tom Price (R., Ga.), the nominee to leadÂ the Department of Health and Human Services,Â saidÂ at his confirmation hearing that while manyÂ individuals have coverage through Obamacare, some of them are notÂ getting the care they need because they cannot afford their deductible.
â€œI get calls almost weekly from my former fellow physicians who tell me that their patients are making decisions about not getting the care that they need because they canâ€™t afford the deductible,â€ Price said.
â€œIf you are an individual making $40,000 and $50,000 per year, and your deductible is $6,000 or $12,000 for a familyâ€”which is not unusual on the exchangesâ€”you may have an insurance card, it might have a wonderful name of an insurance company, but you canâ€™t have the care because you canâ€™t afford the deductible,â€ he said. â€œPeople are denying themselves the care that they need.â€
Here are some of the other ways out-of-pocket expenses are going to rise in 2017:
On average,Â co-insurance for specialty drugs on silver plans is set to increase from 34 percent to 37 percent. More silver plans willÂ charge co-insurance for specialty drugs as well. In 2017, 84 percent of silver plans will charge for the drugs, up from 74 percent in 2016.
HalfÂ of silver plans will charge more than 30 percentÂ co-insurance for specialty drugs,Â compared to 36 percentÂ of silver plans in 2016.
In addition to higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs, the Obamacare exchanges will offer fewer preferred provider organizations, which offer a wider network of providers and cover more out-of-network services.
In 2014, 52 percent of plans on the Obamacare exchanges were by preferred provider organizations. In 2017, that number is projected to decline to 31 percent.
Premiums are set to increase by 25 percent in 2017. The number of insurers participating on the exchanges isÂ set to decline.
President Trump was expected to take some executive actions very soonÂ to roll back some provisions of the ‘Affordable’ Care Act, but he will need Congress to send him legislation in order to completely repeal the law and replace it with free-market-oriented solutions that emphasize quality of product andÂ competition over top-down government mandates that obviously have not worked as advertised.