Health plan sticker shock ahead for some buyers
Lynn Quincy of Consumers Union, a public policy group, suggests that consumers narrow their options to five plans, then go to each insurer's website to read the benefits summary. It spells out who pays what for two common situations: having a baby and managing Type 2 diabetes.
To be sure, the new health law did away with the whopping deductibles in plans previously offered to people without employer-provided coverage. Out-of-pocket costs are now capped at $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for a family.
But some people who have been paying their own medical bills, or leaving them unpaid at the hospital, seem surprised that health insurance doesn't cover more of the costs.
"They previously had no insurance coverage at all and so they might not be happy," said Cynthia Rahming, an enrollment counselor in Houston.
Fearing the sticker shock, Loyola University Health System in Chicago is offering payment plans to spread the out-of-pocket costs.
Some who had private insurance policies that were canceled may find that keeping the same deductibles may mean higher premiums.
In California, Diane Agnone complained in an online post on her state's health marketplace. "How is this affordable? I am a healthy 62-year-old single woman and these new premiums will cost me over $200 more per month than my existing plan."
The new insurance system requires policies to cover more services than some consumers had chosen to buy in the past.
"It's all a matter of having a budget and it only goes so far," said Agnone, an executive with a nonprofit charity based in Fairfield, which is about halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento. "There is no winning in this."
Associated Press writers Michael Blood in Los Angeles, Ramit Plushnick-Masti in Houston, Kelli Kennedy in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Roger Alford in Frankfort, Ky., contributed to this report.