While it's all well and good that Massachusetts has negotiated a low monthly premium for its new bare-bones health plan, the initial numbers publicized by state officials are deceptive, according to the nonprofit Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR). The group, which describes itself as nonpartisan, says that the low monthly premiums touted by state officials seriously understate the actual costs patients will face.
While the state's basic plan comes in at a modest $173 per month premium for individuals, such plans will impose very substantial additional costs on consumers, according to an FTCR analysis. These costs will typically include 20 percent responsibility for outpatient fees, 35 percent responsibility for hospital costs, out of pocket maximums of as much as $5,000 per individual and $10,000 per family and separate drug deductibles of $500 (with co-pays as much as $100 per month for meds). When these additional costs are figured in, basic plans alone could consume as much as 30 percent of family income, the group says. These costs make the state's health insurance mandate too pricey for many residents, the group suggests.
To get a detailed analysis of the new reform-oriented health plans:
- read the group's press release