HHS Highlights Decrease in Marketplace Median Deductibles

The median individual annual deductible for 2016 HealthCare.gov policies is $850, down from $900 in 2015, according to HHS data demonstrating how financial assistance (cost-sharing reductions) reduces deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums, and other cost-sharing obligations. HHS also notes that consumers are further protected from their deductibles because the average HealthCare.gov policy covers seven common healthcare services, in addition to preventive services, with no or low cost-sharing prior to the requirement to meet the deductible. Overall, HHS reports that a third of HealthCare.gov enrollees have annual deductibles of less than or equal to $250 and over half have annual deductibles under $1,000 after accounting for financial assistance. Enrollees in silver plans that do not qualify for cost-sharing reductions have a median annual deductible of $3,000.

President Outlines Next Steps for Health Care Reform, Including “Public Option”

President Obama supports implementation of a public plan to compete alongside private insurers in ACA Marketplaces, according to his article in the Journal of the American Medical Association. To build on the success of the ACA, the President also recommends: addressing high prescription drug costs by increasing transparency around manufacturers’ costs and increasing the rebates that manufacturers are required to pay for drugs prescribed to certain Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries; ensuring all states expand Medicaid; and increasing financial assistance available in the Marketplace to address affordability concerns. The President described coverage expansions and delivery system reform accomplished under the ACA and acknowledged that it will take “continued hard work” to achieve these goals in full, including the Administration’s objective to have at least half of traditional Medicare payments flowing through alternative payment models by the end of 2018.