According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Obamacare will cost $506 billion instead of the originally projected $710 billion during the last 5 years of the CBO’s 10 year projection. There are several reasons for this including the fact that fewer people used the Federal exchanges which means that fewer people received subsidies than expected.
According to Nick Timiraos of the Wall Street Journal, “The slower growth in health-care spending is attributed in part to the slow economic recovery and more insurance cost-sharing requirements like deductibles, which have prompted consumers to rein in their own spending on medical care. Medicare spending growth has also slowed.”
One of the unintended consequences of Obamacare is the shift towards high deductible health plans which shifts greater out-of-pocket costs to consumers if they actually get sick. With greater out-of-pocket potential expense, the consumer is less likely to go to the ER for a headache since they now realize they’ll shoulder more of the financial burden.
While a higher deductible may mean that people will avoid getting the help they need because of the fear of cost, hopefully it will encourage a more judicious use of healthcare resources. As high deductible health plans become more commonplace, you will find more online resources to help consumers find services that are more affordable but not risk quality. For example, a basic blood test is the same no matter where you go. So it makes sense to find the least expensive lab to go to. Websites like BuildMyBod.com are trailblazers in this arena.
While not all healthcare services are commodities – not all heart surgeons are the same – lab tests and X-rays are similar, if not the same, regardless of locale. Therefore it makes sense to find the most affordable tests or studies when appropriate.