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Texas insured still face overwhelming debt

In spite of the Affordable Care Act, many people still face medical debt. According to reports, these health plans may still be out of reach for many people. The lowest plan costs an individual thousands of dollars, and this can result in overwhelming debt for many Texas residents.

Reportedly, the plan with the lowest amount in deductibles is the bronze package, which costs over $5,000. Also, the out-of-pocket limits are $8,700 for a family and $4,350 for an individual. These plans are recognized as cost-sharing, which requires consumers to pay a portion of their medical expenses. In addition, consumers face a separate deductible for prescription medications. Unfortunately, many people cannot afford the high costs, especially those who have recurring health conditions, including hypertension and asthma.

A study data conducted by the Centers for Disease Control suggest that medical debt is one of the primary causes of bankruptcy filings. In 2012, the number of people who encountered complications with paying high-deductible plans was at 34 percent. Often, it's required to pay in full and upfront for medical visits until consumers meet the deductible.

The Affordable Care Act gives many people access to health coverage. Although more people are insured, it comes with a hefty price tag for deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses. For the lower-income household, the costs are far reaching for them, leading to overwhelming debt. Texas consumers who have a large amount in medical bills that they cannot afford to pay may be eligible for financial assistance. If financial assistance is not available, consumers may wish to explore bankruptcy options for the relief they need.

Source: USA Today, Medical debt will persist despite health law, Jayne O'Donnell, and Paul Overberg, Jan. 15, 2014

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