Deductibles under the Senate’s Better Care plan could be $13,000

Under the Senate’s proposed health plan, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, deductibles will rise to new heights, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Deductibles are the amount you as a consumer must pay each year before your health insurance coverage kicks in for services you receive beyond a certain minimum set of medical services. And they’re far more common than they used to be. Nowadays half of Americans have health insurance that comes with a deductible of at least $1,000.

That’s steep. But should the Senate repeal the Affordable Care Act and pass its replacement plan, the CBO warns that, by 2026, or only nine years from now, your deductible, if you buy health coverage on the individual insurance plan market, could reach $13,000 a year — or more.

Under this legislation, for a single policyholder purchasing an illustrative benchmark plan (with an actuarial value of 58 percent) in 2026, the deductible for medical and drug expenses combined would be roughly $13,000, the agencies estimate. CBO and JCT’s projections are for benchmark plans that are illustrative in that they do not include any cost-sharing reductions that might be implemented through the State Stability and Innovation Program and they would not provide any benefits before the deductible was met, except for preventive care.

For plans providing some benefits before the deductible was met, such as a limited number of primary care visits or generic drug purchases, the deductible would be higher.

By contrast, should the Affordable Care Act remain the law of the land, the CBO estimates your premiums by 2026 will be a far more modest $5,000, or 2.6 times lower.

Business Insider points out that, under this proposed Republican plan, deductibles “could get so high they’re actually more than the poorest Americans earn.”

The CBO concurs, predicting that large numbers of middle- and working-class Americans won’t buy insurance at all, since policies would be out of reach. For those making $26,500, or 175 percent of the federal poverty level, and $56,800, or 375 percent of the federal poverty level, “the deductible would constitute about a half and a quarter of their income, respectively.”

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