The Supreme Court recently said it wouldn’t fast-track a hearing to discuss the end of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”), which means it’s unlikely a ruling will come before the 2020 election.1
Instead, Congress is engaged in a slow-moving discussion of health care issues with varying degrees of potential impact. In late 2019, Congress approved an appropriations bill that didn’t include long-debated provisions to address the issue of surprise billing.2
Surprise billing refers to when patients are billed for services from providers that aren’t contracted with their insurance plan’s network and therefore not covered. This often happens with anesthesiologists and other specialists the patient doesn’t meet prior to a scheduled or emergency surgery. In lieu of federal legislation, states are trying out localized solutions, with some success. Thanks to a New York law passed in 2015, patients have saved more than $400 million in emergency services that would have resulted in surprise billing.3
One thing to consider when planning for retirement is how you will pay for possible increased health care expenses. If you’re interested in exploring insurance options to help pay for health care and other expenses in retirement, we can help you with that.
Whether it becomes a personal issue or a national one, the U.S. still has a lot of health care issues it needs to address, such as:
- S. prescription drug spending grew an average of 3.6% each year from 2008 to 2017 — much faster than in other developed nations.4
- The rise in chronic conditions among millennials could result in up to a 33% increase in health care costs compared to previous generations.5
- The U.S. has a woeful and abundant shortage of mental health providers, particularly in rural areas, during a time when adolescent suicide is on the rise.6 It won’t matter if a family has adequate health care coverage if there are no providers to be found.
As we continue through 2020, it’s likely health care insurance and expenses will be a priority issue decided at election time, whether the U.S. engages in comprehensive health care reform or continues to develop solutions on an issue-by-issue basis.
1 Associated Press. Nola.com. Jan. 21, 2020. “Supreme Court rejects fast-track review of Obamacare lawsuit.” https://www.nola.com/news/courts/article_ff990a36-3c62-11ea-b6f7-67f24f61508b.html. Accessed Jan. 24, 2020.
2 Rachel Cohrs. Modern Healthcare. Dec. 23, 2019. “How Congress’ surprise billing compromise fell short.” https://www.modernhealthcare.com/politics-policy/how-congress-surprise-billing-compromise-fell-short. Accessed Jan. 24, 2020.
3 Linda A. Lacewell. New York State Department of Financial Services. September 2019. “What Investors Need to Watch for in 2020.” https://www.dfs.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2019/09/dfs_oon_idr.pdf. Accessed Jan. 24, 2020.
4 Marc A. Rodwin. Commonwealth Fund. Nov. 11, 2019. “What Can the United States Learn from Pharmaceutical Spending Controls in France?” https://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/issue-briefs/2019/nov/what-can-united-states-learn-drug-spending-controls-france. Accessed Jan. 24, 2020.
5 Emma Court. Time. Nov. 6, 2019. “Millennials’ Chronic Health Problems Will Limit Their Lifetime Earnings, Report Says.” https://time.com/5720313/millennials-health-limit-earnings/. Accessed Jan. 24, 2020.
6 Catherine Pearson. Huffington Post. Nov. 4, 2019. “There Aren’t Enough Mental Health Providers. And Kids Are Paying The Price.” https://www.huffpost.com/entry/there-arent-enough-mental-health-providers-and-kids-are-paying-the-price_l_5dbf7aeee4b0615b8a951604?ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000067. Accessed Jan. 24, 2020.
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