What we're reading, November 16, 2015: consumers face sticker shock on Affordable Care Act plans when they get sick and face high deductibles; Medicare spending on hepatitis C drugs nearly doubled in 2015; and US maternal mortality has worsened since 1990.
Consumers Face Sticker Shock With Sky-High ACA Plan Deductibles
Sky-high deductibles for Affordable Care Act health plans are leaving some consumers feeling just as vulnerable as when they didn’t have coverage, according to The New York Times. A review from the publication found that more than half of the plans offered through HealthCare.gov have deductibles of $3000 or more in many states. So although the plans don’t seem expensive when consumers purchase them, they are facing sticker shock when they actually get sick.
Hepatitis C Drug Spending in Medicare Nearly Double
Whether or not Medicare beneficiaries have hepatitis C, their insurance costs will go up as spending on medications for the virus nearly doubles this year, reported the Associated Press. Estimates from Medicare’s Office of the Chief Actuary place hepatitis C drug costs at $9.2 billion in 2015, a 96% increase from 2014, which accounts for nearly 7% of drug costs for all of the Part D program.
US Maternal Mortality Worsens Since 1990
What do the United States, North Korea, Zimbabwe, and Venezuela have in common? They are part of a small group of just 13 countries where the rate of maternal mortality in 2015 is worse than it was in 1990. Women in the United States are twice as likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth as they are in Canada, according to a new study from the United Nations and the World Bank. While the US is still far ahead of the target (140 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030), the average has slipped from 12 to 14 deaths per 100,000 live births, reported Reuters.