Medicare could face higher deductible

Dec. 1, 2003 at 1:48 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- The recent Medicare legislation passed by Congress could result in more employers requiring employees to pay more toward health care.

The average annual deductible in preferred provider organizations is $561 for 2003, up from $340 in 2000, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. But the new law could result in some employers raising the deductible to $1,000.

The legislation does allow individuals to set aside money tax-free in health savings accounts, but to qualify they must have a $1,000 deductible for individuals and $2,000 for families, USA Today reported.

"It will hasten movement away from low-deductible plans," said economist Paul Ginsburg of the Center for Studying Health System Change, a non-partisan think tank.

The law coincides with a new type of insurance policy called "consumer-driven plans" that offer some kind of high-deductible policy coupled with a tax-deductible medical savings account, USA Today said.

Some employers contribute to the saving account, but require workers to pay for part of their own medical costs.

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