High deductibles may mean lower premiums, but a costly trade-off


By Trudy Lieberman

Special to The SUN

A few weeks ago, I got an email from Judy, a reader who wanted to tell me about trouble she’s had paying her medical bills, particularly those for prescription drugs.

Severe daily headaches had just qualified her for Social Security disability benefits. After she satisfies a two-year waiting period, which the law requires, she will qualify for Medicare as all people on Social Security disability will do, whether or not they are age 65. Judy couldn’t wait, so she looked for other insurance options.

Her monthly income of about $1,300 is too high for Medicaid benefits. “I’m $20 over the income guidelines,” she told me. So she turned to an Affordable Care Act policy with a low premium but a $6,500 deductible.

That deductible pinches financially. Until she reaches the $6,500 annual limit, she pays out of pocket for her medicines and other health care needs while juggling the rent, utility payments, car expenses, insurance premiums, fuel and food bills and praying her car doesn’t break down.

“Where is all this going to end?” she asked.

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