Women with breast cancer delay care when faced with high deductibles: The New York Times

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Procedures

“When Pam Leonard felt a lump in her breast last November, she hesitated, debating whether to get testing to see if she had cancer,” Reed Abelson writes over at The New York Times. “She thought of her insurance policy, which carries a deductible of $2,600. She knew she would also have to spend as much as $5,700 on medical bills that would not be covered by an individual policy she bought under the Affordable Care Act. ‘I went back and forth for a couple of weeks,’ Ms. Leonard recalled. ‘I had to do something,’ she said. ‘It didn’t go away.’ She eventually got a mammogram and ultrasound, confirming a cancer diagnosis. That led to a lumpectomy and weeks of chemotherapy. Ms. Leonard, 58, a teacher in Kenosha, Wis., will soon begin radiation treatment. High-deductible plans have become commonplace, a deterrent used by companies to lower health care costs by discouraging unnecessary tests or treatments. Evidence for that link has mounted since the Great Recession 10 years ago, when deductibles began to soar: People increasingly deferred medical care, putting off elective surgeries and doctors’ visits. National health care spending slowed as a result. But a recent study of women with insurance plans that carried deductibles of at least $1,000 underscores the danger to consumers required to shoulder a greater share of those costs.” Reed Abelson, “Women With Breast Cancer Delay Care When Faced With High Deductibles,” , The New York Times.