What Does $300 Extra a Year Mean to You?
May 22 2012
by Sergio Muñoz, Senior Policy Analyst, Health Policy Project, NCLR
Remember the trending Twitter campaign, #40Dollars, which the White House launched last December to rally support for extension of the payroll tax break? That extra $40 per paycheck was apparently a big deal—responses flooded in at a rate of 2,000 an hour. What do you think another $535 or $589 means for American families?
Curious? You have something to look forward to. A research study just published on the savings for health care consumers if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is implemented in its entirety is starting to attract notice. According to the researcher, the regulated benefits of individual health insurance plans that will be available under the ACA would have saved the average consumer almost $300 a year in out-of-pocket costs. The savings are even more significant for the near-elderly and those with limited incomes, which come out to $589 and $535, respectively. That’s not between-the-sofa-cushions-change.
The high out-of-pocket costs of most health insurance plans prior to health care reform are a big reason why 15% of insured Hispanics cite financial concerns as a barrier to a usual source of care, and why one in four dips into savings for health care costs when a doctor’s visit can no longer be postponed. This is the sort of out-of-pocket unaffordability that the ACA was supposed to fix, and if this study is any indication, the savings are not chump change.
So the next time someone tells you they want to repeal the law completely, keep in mind that this would also repeal all the other reforms that will finally make affordable quality health insurance available, and deliver hundreds of dollars in savings to us all.
Preventive services offered without cost-sharing, already estimated to be available to 6.1 million Latinos? Gone with repeal.
Tax credits toward the purchase of private health insurance that will help low- and moderate-income families even more, on top of the out-of-pocket savings projected by the study? Yup, gone with repeal as well.
The Supreme Court has always affected our daily lives more than most people realize. An adverse decision on the constitutionality of health care reform might finally drive this point home. Sticker shock tends to do that.
Issues: Basics of Health Care Reform, Health, Health Care, Health Care Reform
Geography:California, Far West, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, Texas