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The number of health plans with high deductibles increases

Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, a rising number of people in Florida and the rest of the nation have been using health plans that have high deductibles. This is according to a study recently conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics at the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study shows that the percentage of people age 18 to 64 with high-deductible private health insurance increased from 26.3 percent in 2011 to 39.3 percent in 2016. This reflects an increase of nearly 50 percent in high deductible health plans (HDHP). In 2016, an HDHP was classified as a health plan that consisted of annual deductibles of at least $1,300 and $2,600 for self-only coverage and family coverage, respectively.

The policies that are provided by employers and those purchased by individuals both show recent surges in the use of HDHPs. Because premiums for HDHPs are less costly than those for policies with both lower deductibles and additional out-of-pocket expenses for the patient, the increases are to be expected. However, with the expenses, including deductibles and copays, HDHPs are expensive when they are used, particularly for people on a budget.

The annual deductible can become a regular expense for those with chronic medical conditions and continuous health care needs. The study shows that 50 percent more privately insured individuals between the ages of 18 and 64 with HDHPs have difficulty paying their medical bills than those with traditional health plans.

Individuals who have accumulated substantial debt from medical bills may qualify for certain types of bankruptcy. An attorney who practices bankruptcy law may review a client's financial situation and explain which type of bankruptcy may be appropriate. This may include Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcies.

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