Buying health insurance – or understanding what our plans cover and how much we have to pay – isn’t easy. Moreover, the people we interview about their health plans and ACA shopping experiences can be just as confused as everyone else. Headlines about the health law and affordability and limited choices can confuse people, or make them assume their own costs are going up – which may not be true. Several million people who are eligible for ACA subsidies still aren’t getting them – and many don’t realize they may be eligible for financial assistance.
Here’s a new AHCJ tip sheet that may help you avoid some pitfalls in your reporting. Does the person you are interviewing who claims he can’t get a subsidy know that for sure? Does the patient saying her insurer won’t cover her medical condition realize that the plan now has to cover a pre-existing condition? Does that broker have financial incentives to push a client toward a certain health insurer?
None of this suggests that there aren’t big affordability problems – there are. But we need to be precise about what they are, what they aren’t, who is hurt, who is helped – and who is misinformed.