A surprising number of Americans are opting to live without health insurance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. They estimate that 10 percent of Americans under the age of 65 are choosing to forego health insurance. This risky practice is on the rise as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has increased health care cost for many Americans while providing care to those who cannot afford it.
Living without insurance is a huge risk as one accident can ruin an entire family’s financial lives. The cost of health insurance has to make economic sense for families on a month-to-month basis though. There are a few alternatives like health-sharing plans that are popping up. One such story is the case of the Owens’ family in Louisiana that has chosen to forgo an ACA plan for a wealth-sharing plan formed by a Christian organization. An ACA plan would cost the family in excess of $1,600 per month, while the health-sharing plan is only $160 per month. According to CNBC, the problem with the plan is that it only covers basic routine health care and does not pay for things like accidents or major illnesses.
The fact that Americans are having to weigh the risks of going without insurance was not the intent of the ACA when it was enacted. While President Trump is trying to rewrite the plan, that can take precious time that some families do not have. While Trump did sign into law that did away with the fine for going uninsured, the cost of healthcare premiums far outweighs any fine.
States are rushing to create their own healthcare fixes but there is no easy answer. The current federal law prohibits states from offering plans that circumvent the ACA, which limits greatly what states can offer. While the number of Americans without healthcare coverage rises, the costs of basic care rises. As the gap widens, Republicans and Democrats in Washington D.C. are losing favor with their affected constituents. Will the United States ever get their healthcare epidemic fixed? Only time, which is in precious demand, will tell.