Yet another key provision of Obamacare meant to protect consumers is being delayed - the Obama Administration is holding off on instituting out-of-pocket expense limits. That provision would have put a cap on the total amount an insurance company can charge individuals or families for deductibles, co-pays, and prescriptions. The healthcare law was supposed to restrict out-of-pocket expenses to about 6,000 dollars for an individual, and 12,000 for a family, but administration officials have delayed that requirement, and will allow insurance companies to set their own limits.
The U.S. Labor Department website listed the change since February, but we're just now finding out about it. A White House official defended that decision to the New York Times, saying, “We had to balance the interests of consumers with the concerns of health plan sponsors and carriers, which told us that their computer systems were not set up to aggregate all of a person's out-of pocket costs.” However, critics of the delay argue that most, if not all, insurance companies already set out-of-pocket limits, and this change is simply another give-away to the for-profit health care industry. And, many people expect that Republicans will use this additional delay to attack and discredit the president's healthcare law.
Patient advocacy groups, like the Multiple Sclerosis Society, are furious about how this latest delay will effect individuals who require expensive medical care. Theodore Thompson, of the MS Society, said, “The promise of out-of-pocket limits was one of the main reasons we supported health reform.” It's unclear whether these groups will pull their support for Obamacare because these limits will not be in place.
Already, there have been many mixed reviews about other provisions in the healthcare law being delayed, like the employer mandate. It's unlikely that most Americans will be happy about the news that private, for-profit insurance companies will get away with pushing even more healthcare costs on to patients.
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