High deductibles are a bad deal

September 05, 2013

Randolph Herald

I would like to respond to the letter “High Deductibles Bring Savings” in the August 15 edition of The Herald. As someone who has suffered these plans before, I am curious for whom the savings are brought to.

It is certainly not the insured. They get to pay both the premiums and the deductibles, usually amounting to thousands of dollars per year, even with these HSA’S (Health Savings Accounts) added to mitigate the cost in some cases.

The author wrote that “some 20% of people insured in Vermont have bought high deductible plans in combination with Health Savings Accounts as a way of getting good coverage at affordable prices.”

With my high-deductible there was no such thing as an HSA. I would also guess that many more than those 20% of Vermonters now stuck under the weight of high-deductible plans also do not have the luxury of an HSA offered by their employer.

The author said “these plans also tended to bring down the overall cost of health care.” This might be true, though it has not been proven.

High deductibles plans are, however, an enormously efficient barrier to seeking health care. I know this from experience. The real reasons for these plans can be summed up by the former health insurance CEO, Wendell Potter in an article at wendellpotter.com/2011/06/insurerss bait-and-switch/.

In essence, high-deductibles (with or without HSA’s) shift costs to the consumer while increasing profits for the insurance companies. Is this what the author meant by “Insurance brokers and small business owners experimented and tweaked until they came up with something that really worked for the economic realities they were facing everyday?”

The idea that high deductibles can bring down medical costs and still provide health care for all Vermonters is fantasy. This is why Governor Shumlin and his administration disapprove of them and are seeking another way single payer.

Walter Carpenter
Montpelier